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Cornell University Library 
BT653.L34 M6 1884 

Miraculous episodes of Lourdes : continu 


3 1924 029 315 052 






^ ..x^x, x.x LASSEEEE. 



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18 84. 




\AU rights reserved.] 


Lettzb fboh MoirsiEim Heitbi Lassesbe to the 

Teakslatoe, vi 

The AuTHo:tfs DECLAEAnoif, ix 

Dedication, xi 

Peeface, xiii 


Tsamslatob's Fbeface xxxi 

The Mieacle of the AssuMPTioir, .... 1 

The JoufEE of Lavatte, 105 

Mademoiselle de Fontbnat, 138 

The Novbna of the Cvsi of ALaiEES, . . .229 

The Witnesses of Mt Cube, 282 

Appendix and Peoofs, 359 


A Mademoiselle Margabet Martin, trcdudrice Anglaise des 
" Episodes Miraculeux de Lourdes ". 


Je suis henreux de donner mon entiere approbation h 
votre traduction anglaise des " Episodes Mirouyuleux de Lourdes," 
que vous allez publier chez Messieurs Burns at Gates. Vous 
avez fait cette oeuvre avec amour, avec z61e, avec piet§, demandant 
h, la Vierge Sainte, dont vous racontez les bienfaits, de guider 
votre plume et d'illuminer votre style. J'ai I'esperance qu'elle 
vous aura exauc6e et qu'elle benira oes pages, ecrites pour la 
diffusion de sa gloire et la propagation de son culte. 

Qu'elle daigne s'en servir pour aflfermir dans la vraie foi ceus 
qui y sont dijSk, et pour y conduire ceux qui s'en sont §cartes. 

Veuillez recevoir. Mademoiselle, I'expression de ma tres-haute 
consideration en 

Xo. et B. M. V.L, 



DOBDOGNE, 19th April, 188k. 


To Miss Mabgaret Martin, English Translator of 
" The Miraculoiis Episodes of Lourdes". 


I am happy to be able to give my entire approbation to 
the English Translation of " The Mwacukms Episodes of Lov/rdes " 
that you are about to publish at Messrs. Burns & Gates'. You 
have done your work with love, zeal, and piety, trusting to the 
Blessed Virgin, whose favours yovi relate, to guide your pen and 
inspire your thoughts. 

May she fulfil your desires and bless these pages, written for 
the diffusion of her glory, and the propagation of her power and 
goodness ; and may she deign to employ them, not only to 
strengthen those who are already of the True Faith, but also 
to bring back to the Fold such as have wandered from it. 

Receive, Mademoiselle, the expression of my highest esteem. 

In Xo. and B. M. V. I., 


DORDOGNE, 19th April, 188U. 


In obedience to the presoriptiona of our Holy Mother 
the Catholic Church, we formally declare : 

That we submit aU we have writteur without any 
restriction,, to the judgment of the Holy See. 

That in whatever coneems the extraordinary cures 
we may relate (even when vre employ the usual word 
Miracle, and when we point out the circumstances 
which seem' to us a proof of divine intervention), we 
do not presume to decide of ourselves on their super- 
natural character, neither do we vrish to give to our 
words any other authority . than that of a purely 
historical testimony. 

That, when we happen, in speaMng of pious and 
venerated, persons, to use terms employed by the 
Church in the causes of Saints,, we have no inten- 
tion of anticipating the judgment of the Apostolic 
See, which alone has the right of pronouncing in 
such matters. 









The "book we now publish is the continuation of 
the one we wrote fourteen years ago, entitled OUE 

In considering the Pilgrimage founded by the 
Blessed ^Virgin at the Grotto of Lourdes, and in 
seeking to examine its history, we see opening 
before us a quadruple and vast horizon of different 
and sometimes of opposite aspects, as if that Land 
of Miracles had also its own four cardinal points. 
Whichever way the observer turns, immense fields 
of research spread out before him, inviting investi- 
gation and courting enquiry. 

Before and above all, shines forth in incompar- 
able brilliancy the direct work of God and the 
Immaculate Virgin, in innumerable graces showered 
down on Christians ; inexplicable cures of body and 
soul ; sudden conversions ; strength given to the 
weak ; peace restored to troubled hearts ; consolation 
lavished on the inconsolable. Sometimes it is at 
the Grotto, sometimes at the Sacred Spring,' or the 


Piscina or the Basilica, places consecrated by the 
Apparition of the Blessed Virgin, that these touching 
interventions of All-Pov?erful Goodness take place — 
sometimes at a distance, in sanctuaries erected 
to the glory of Our Lady of Lourdes, at Oostacker 
or Constantinople, in the towns and villages of 
Europe, or the depths of American vfilds — or again 
in some poor solitary room where Her Name has 
been invoked, and the water made sacred by asso- 
ciation vTith Her memory has been piously drunk. 
The eye pauses and reposes with delight on this 
view of the horizon, and the soul rises and expands 
in its contemplation. The morning sun is not 
brighter, nor the early dawn more fresh. Indeed, 
the grandest scenes of this world are unworthy to be 
compared to the splendour and purity of such a 
spectacle. It is Heaven itself inclining towards 
earth. It is God amongst men. 

The second spectacle, almost as admirable as the 
first, is that of the endless stream of Christians 
hastening from all countries, and by every means of 
transport to respond to the call of Mary ; drinking 
with pious eagerness of the Fountain of Mercy, 
praying in fraternal union, and forming but one 
family with one heart under the eye of the Father 
of All. The rich helps the poor, the strong pilgrim 
carries the infirm one : lays him carefully on his 
couch, watches at his bedside, dresses his wounds, 
bathes him in the Piscina, suffers with his sufferings, 
and prays with his prayer. 


Charity, active and holy, clothed in every costume, 
using every means, speaking every tongue, being 
"all things to all men" ; Charity, sacred and sweet, 
moves about among the multitudes, firing them with 
her example, and warming their hearts with her 
rays. She has paid the journey of the penniless and 
will pay his return, she has sheltered the homeless, 
clothed the naked, fed the hungry, and still she 
bums with the desire to spend and be spent in well- 

K there were really longitudes and latitudes in 
the regions of the mind, it might be said that this 
incessant procession, this universal Pilgrimage, these 
magnificent crowds represent the lovely zone of the 
South, with its glorious sunshine and azure firma- 
ment, its movement, its activity, its brilliant colours, 
its luxuriant vegetation, its exquisite flowers, its 
sonorous dialects, its ardent speech, its enthusiastic 
songs. All is warmth and light, and true fraternity. 
Can there be anything more touching than this 
fugitive vision of what the world would be if the 
world were Christian ? It is the movement of earth 
rising towards Heaven. It is man with God. 

In the third place, there is at Lourdes an institu- 
tion called " The Work of the Grotto," that is, the 
spiritual and temporal administration of the Pilgrim- 

Universal Charity turning towards the guardians 
of the Sanctuary has said to them : " I have erected 
the Basilica in obedience to the commands' of the 


Blessed Virgin, I have bought ground, I have 
planted trees tinder whose shelter the multitudes 
that Jesus loves may pray, walk, and repose them- 
selves on this favoured spot. Misereor super turbcis. 
And now, here are still millions upon millions ; the 
rich man's treasure poured out in secret, as Our Lord 
commands ; the widow's mite ; the day's pay of the 
workman ; the savings of the poor. Employ these 
sacred riches in sacred uses. Build houses for the 
poor, lodgings for the pilgrims, Piscinas for the sick. 
Multiply and enlarge the divine workshops where 
the Divine Worker accomplishes His wonders. 
Place in them, before the eyes of the suffering and 
sorrowful, the statue of Mary to speak to them of 
Hope, and the image of Jesus on the Cross to teach 
them Eesignation. Let them find oratories carefully 
prepared for their devotions, and soft couches on 
which to repose their weakness. Piously prepare, 
in imitation of Veronica, cloths to wipe their bodies 
and linen to cover them. How many poor creatures 
come here, alone, neglected, and powerless to help 
themselves, of whom, at the Last Day, Christ will 
say — " It was I ". Those receive with open arms ! 
Let your Brothers and your Sisters of Charity glory 
in being always ready, attentive, and helpful, devoted 
heart and hand to the cause of the suffering, so that 
none may have to say here, as at the Probatica 
Pond, "I have no man to put me into the water ". 
Teach them to love God and to bless His Church, 
and the world, frivolous and unconverted, when it 

sees you tKe willing servants of disease and sickness, 
and utterly forgetful of self, may perhaps take the 
lesson home and hlushfor its vain expenditure and 
selfish pleasures. 

Preserve also, with religious care, .for future ages, as 
an in-violahle patrimony and . a priceless historical 
relic, the venerated spot that the Virgin has honoured 
eighteen times with Her presence, and never suffer 
that visible page of Her divine history to be effaced 
or altered. " The gift of God has been deposited with 
you for the use of mankind." . . . Thus spoke 
Catholic Charity, thus did she counsel and' thus does 
she hope. Such were the accents of that voice of 
the people which is truly the voice of Gbd.. 

Around all centres of grace founded here below 
by the mercy of God, the very nature of things and 
the efforts -of the Irreconcilable Enemy accumulate 
many dangers ; — Riches, which are a strength and 
a power to those privileged spots, becqme at -the 
same time a serious danger, involving,, alas ! unless 
resisted, the spirit of vain pomp that lavishes with- 
out counting,, and the spirit of trading and lucre that 
ooUects and amasses; . . .- 

The authorities who accept the redoubtable func- 
tions of administering with their mortal hands these 
sanctuaries of prayer and benediction, should make 
it their first and most important duty to protect 
them from such; attacks, and keep them pure from 
such taints ; to check on their threshold the invasion 
of -worldly splendour, to render them more sacred in 


readers in a compact series of short accounts, a 
hurried narrative of each and all of them. We 
think, and we have always thought, that such ac- 
cumulations of superficial facts can only produce a 
superficial effect on those who read them. We will 
even go so far as to say that, contrary to the laud- 
able object pursued by the pious authors of such 
compilations, the reader often turns away from such 
books with a feeling of vague dislike^ and mortal 
dulness, which, however, he dare not acknowledge 
even to himself, as it might be taken for in- 
difference or lukewarmness towards the wonders of 

From what Unknown cause does this singular and 
truly regretable consequence proceed? It comes 
solely from the anxious desire of the narrator to 
relate, one after the other in rapid succession, all the 
supernatural facts he can collect, without giving him- 
self either the trouble or the length of time neces- 
sary> to go thoroughly into a single one of them. 
Like the guide in public museums and collections, 
he hurries the reader indefinitely along the common 
surface of things and neglects to introduce him to 
their intimate life, their'providential workings — that 
is, to their real iiaterest and their supreme beauty. 
Hence, fatigue instead of repose, and satiety in the 
place of attraction. 

We have thought it desirable to adopt an entirely 
different plan. If scientific men, if Botanists for 
example, devote sometimes many years, or even 


their whole lives, to the study of one plant, or one 
■special tree ; if they discover in the mysteries of its 
■germination, the formation of its roots, the direction 
of its fibres, the movement of its sap, the propor- 
tions of its trunk, the arrangement of its leaves, the 
interlacing of its branches, the roughness of its bark, 
the blossoming of its flower, and ,the nature of its 
fruit', admirable secrets of .universal wisdom, it seems 
to us that a Christian, xwhen ' studying one of the 
miracles of the Most High, should not be less consci- 
entious, less zealous, less persevering in undertaking 
and pursuing a similar work of minute investigation 
and patient analysis. To examine the supernatural 
event on all sides and in all its details ; consider its 
course ; study its pauses and most distant preparations; 
penetrate, so to speak, to its very essence ; determine 
its real character ; and bring its chief features into 
relief : — Such is not, alas! what we have done, but 
what we have tried to do. 

Experience, or rather the Higher Hand by which 
we have been guided, marked out this path for 
us from the instant of our first researches on the 
subject of the miraculous interventions of Our Lady 
of Lourdes ; and we cannot better explain how we 
have been led in this direction, than by quoting our 
own words written some time ago : — 

"At Bordeaux, at Tartas, at Nay, at Lourdes, 
wherever I have examined or enquired deeply into 
any one of these exceptional manifestations from On 
High, I have remarked, with secret awe, a surprising 


the truth, myweakei* intellect foresaw nothing, had 
no presentiment of anything, and I owe it to Pro- 
vidence alone, that I have been guided by the move- 
ments of grace towards'these^marvellous shores." 


Some of these narratives of miracles have cost' me 
years of preparation. It has only been by nmhber- 
less interrogations, intimate talks, heart to heart, 
with those whose history I relate, or with their fami- 
lies or their friends, sometimes indeed by a few days 
of life in common under the same roof, at the same 
table, by ihe same fireside, that I have come to 
know, little by little, and see gradually unrolling 
before my eyes in their admirable order, the different 
scenes of these miraculous dramas. 

How often and how painfully have I thought, 
while devoting myself to these researches, of the 
deplorable error, the immense fault, committed by 
those inconsiderate minds who seek to embellish by 
legendary additions the marvels that it pleases God to 
accomplish here below. Forgetting that the duty 
and the sacred mission of the historian " consists iu 
finding everything in his subject and in seeking 
nothing beyond it," they have preferred the easy 
pleasure of apocryphal inventions to the courageous 
labour of thoroughly studying and examining their 
subject with slow and indefatigable perseverance. 
And yet, had they sought the Truth, they would in 


-addition have discovered the Beautiful, and would 
not have worked in vain. What is called Ait, the 
■ great Art of History is: attainable in no other way, 
and reality would have shown them treasures before 
which the fictitious productions of their imagination 
would have perished like dross. .For imagination is 
oT:man and Truth ie oft-G-od. 


Before publishing these narratives I was "desirous, 
for the greater certainty and guarantee of History, 
for my own sake and ;for that of the public ;both 
friendly and hostile, to have their rigorous exactness, 
controlled by the direct witness, of those Christians 
into whose life I proposed, to initiate the reader. I 
therefore communicated .to them and their families 
the manuscript or the proofs of my work. .All the 
episodes which, follow (except the last which. regards 
myself) are preceded by their declarations and 
signed with their names. By thus associating 
themselves with this humble book, all those of 
whom I write and who have received from God the 
grace of a Miracle, rise up to.say with me — "This is 
the Truth!" 


We have written these pages amidst the troubles 
and anxieties of our time, and with a heart oppressed 
by anguish and alarm, while wicked men, in the 


pride of power, sacrilegiously endeavoua? to drive God 
from His true Temple of the human mind. 

But, in proportion as our researches gave us a 
more profound knowledge of the events we now 
relate, our fears were dissipated and our hopes soared 

For the many details of these episodes resolve 
themselves into a distinct, positive, imperious, and 
irresistible proof that the Sovereign Master of the 
world secretly and permanently intervenes in all the 
events that, mark our lives. He intervenes every- 
where and in everything, not only by those sudden 
and exceptional means that we call " Miracles," but 
by a gentle and continuous action, which, without 
disturbing the liberty of the human will,, disposes 
and prepares the- varied circumstances of our rapid 
passage on the surface of this world. If this be so, 
and if it be sometimes granted to our mortal vision 
to witness and verify it in the lives of individuals, 
can we for a moment suppose that the Almighty 
will stand aloof when the guidance of peoples, the 
progress of nations, the fate of Holy Church, and the 
future of Humanity, are at stake? He who so 
lovingly watches over the smallest leaf, will He not 
much more protect the whole tree ? Whatever may 
be the disasters of our epoch ; whatever the iniquities 
of which we are the saddened and indignant wit- 
nesses, whatever the persecutions against justice 
and truth, let us never forget that the earth is 
sustained by the hand of God; that, by His vdU, 


it alternately passes from light to darkness, from 
storm to sunshine, from the frosts of winter to the 
heat of smnmer, and that He leads it by a way 
of which He alone possesses the secret, towards the 
goal predestined by Him from all eternity. Nolite 
timere, pttsillvs grex. 

A Christian lady of talent once said : " God never 
permits Evil to interfere with Good, but to draw 
from the Evil itself a Good still greater ''. 


Our first volume brought an immense joy and a 
signal honour to its unworthy author. 

It decided Bome to break the silence it had till 
then maintained, and proclaim in a Brief addressed 
to the historian, " the luminous evidence " of the 
Apparitions of Mary at the Grotto pi Lourdes, thus 
making that religious event a part of the treasures 
of the Catholic Faith. 

This second volume of the same work appears in 
the year of grace, 1883, at the time when our Most 
Holy Father, Leo XIII., has just ordained an 
universal jubilee in memory of the twenty-fifth 
anniversary of that extraordinary event. May the 
pilgrims of the whole universe who crowd to the 
Bocks of Massabiella, pray God to bless this second 
part of our work as He has deigned to bless the 
first, and to use it, in time present and in time to 


come, for the dissemination of light to the under- 
standings, faith to the souls, and love to the hearts 
of all men. 

H. L. 
Slst May, 1883. 


The Translator of these incomparable pages, de- 
sirous of associating with her work the cherished 
memory of her Native Land, dedicates it, with re- 
hgious respect, to the Catholics of England. Both 
to such as enjoy the exalted privileges of the 
Children of the Faith, and to those whose generous 
and Catholic exercise of the noblest Christian virtues 
has acquired for them the glorious title of "The 
Soul of the Church ". 

May the Immaculate Mother of God ever pre- 
serve them within the sheltering folds of Her Eoyal 
Mantle, and vouchsafe them, hereafter, the grace 
to contemplate her ineffable and sovereign beauty 
through aU eternity. 

Paris, S8th August, 1884. 


restbredj leaving behind them- a weight of suffering 
and infirmity that has lasted" sometimes more than 
a quarter of a century ; the ■ ranks of the voluntary 
infirmarians and sick nurses who find in their 
devoted zeal for the sick members of Jesus Christ 
the secret source of a seemingly inexhaustible 
strength and energy, invulnerable to fatigue and 
indifferent to weariness ; the members of the clergy 
indefatigable and ubiquitous, all things to all men, 
spending and being spent without counting and 
without measure, alternately administering the sacra- 
ments, exhorting the multitudes, leading the devo- 
tions, apparently needing no repose and certainly 
taking none ; above all the genuine and cordial 
fraternity existing between the pilgrims of all classes 
and conditions, making of that picturesque grotto, 
sheltered by towering mountains and begirt by the 
saphire zone of the Gave, a Paradise upon earth, a 
little comer of Heaven, a region where the device 
" Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," is carried out to the 
letter : the Liberty of God's children, the Equality 
of Christian faith, and the Fraternity of. Christian 

Not the least interesting, spectacle offered by this 
unique spot is that of the numbers of resuscitated 
persons miraculously healed of their infinnities who 
flock to Lourdes every year on a pilgrimage of 
thanksgiving, and offer in their own persons the 
public and irrefutable proof of the authenticity of 
the miracle. 


Among them may be seen the Abbe de Musy, 
erect and imposing, his keen eyes and majestic 
height baffling the observer who vainly endeavours 
to pictmre him as having once been blind and help- 
less ; beside him the Abbe Antoine, genial and 
affable, the ready witness of the marvels accom- 
plished in his friend ; and, again, the Abbe Domi- 
nique Sire, at whose Mass, sight, health, and vigour 
were restored to the Abbe de Musy. It is said of 
the Abbe Sire that he is the spoiled child of the 
Blessed Virgin. He has devoted his whole life to 
glorifying the Immaculate Conception. When the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ had proclaimed the spotless 
purity of the Mother of God, the Abbe Sire in his 
filial devotion would have had the whole world 
re-echo with the Decision of the Dogma. Inspired 
by that wish, he caused the Pontifical Bull to be 
translated into every known language and dialect, 
and copied out in illuminate text of infinite variety 
and incomparable beauty,, employing sometimes the 
papyrus of Egjrpt, sometimes the silken textures of 
China, sometimes the ivory tablets of Hindostan, or 
the choicest kinds of paper manufactured in Europe 
and America. This unrivalled collection of cosmo- 
politan translations has been presented by the Abbe 
Sire to the Sovereign Pontiff. 

Mademoiselle de Fontenay, Mile. Lucie Fraiture, 
and many others also, faithfully make their annual 
visit to their Celestial Benefactress ; and the ranks 
of these favoured children of the Mother of Mercy 


are daily swelled by new examples of Divine Com- 
passion exercised on the sick and infirm. 

Monsieur Lasserre never fails to testify to the 
beneficent power of the Blessed Virgin, by his pre- 
sence at the Grotto of Lourdes during the time of the 
national pilgrimages. Untiring patience, delicate 
courtesy, high-bred consideration and Christian sim- 
plicity mark his intercourse with the pilgrims. The 
Translator gladly seizes this opportunity to express 
her grateful admiration for the benevolent generosity 
which has accompanied and encouraged her efforts, 
and made of her sojourn at Lourdes a never-to-be- 
forgotten period of delight and edification. 

To those who have never seen Lourdes it might 
be suggested, that, if only out of mere curiosity, 
there would be a certain charm in visiting a spot 
unique upon earth, where in the heart of the nine- 
teenth century the evangelical times of our Lord are 
revived and renewed strictly to the letter. " TJie 
blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are mad,e clean,, the 
deaf hear, to the poor the Oospel is preached." 

M. M. 

Paris, 1884. 

Humbert de Musy's young wife had Ijeen dead for some 
years, leaving her husband in inconsolable grief, and 
with his health irreparably injured by nights and days 
of incessant watching at the bedside of the wife who 
was dearer to him than himself, and whom he had 
vainly endeavoured to save. He was bent, but not 
with age, and suffered in all his joints from rheumatic 
pains, which rarely gave him any respite. His condition, 
however, was relatively bearable when compared with 
the cruel infirmities of his younger brother. It is the 
history of that younger brother which we are about to 


During his childhood Victor de Musy had enjoyed 
excellent health. He was tall and handsome, and his 
clear-cut features recalled, but with a frank and bene- 
volent expression, the celebrated type of the Bonaparts. 
Slender, active, of a well-knit frame, and foremost in 
all athletic exercises, he seemed to promise a healthy 
and vigorous future. But as he approached his seven- 
teenth year, his health began seriously to fail. Although 
nothing in his appearance betrayed the change, he had 
become weak and delicate, and suffered continual pain, 
sometimes in his back, sometimes in his eyes, sometimes 
in his legs. He bore his sufferings with fortitude, 
his mind ripening prematurely in the habit he had 
acquired of patiently enduring them, and in the seden- 
tary life they often obliged him to lead. He passed his 
time in prayer, meditation, and the company of books 
that lead to God ; and at last he said one day to his 
parents : 

" I feel that the Lord calls me ; I should like to be 
a priest ". 

His parents were too profoundly Christian to think 
of offering any opposition to the vocation of their be- 
loved son. But the father, who deemed it wise and 
prudent to expose that vocation to the test of time, was 
two years before giving his full consent, during which 
period the malady had increased and become a fresh 
obstacle. The Priest is a soldier, and as far as may be, 
the Church only admits into her ranks such men as are 
capable of supporting the innumerable fatigues of their 
sacred calling. It seemed as if Victor could never lay 
such a burden on his shoulders, for his body was as 
powerless as his mind was energetic ; for which reason 
the authorities hesitated a long time before admitting 
him into the Semiuary. Indeed, it was only after a 
decided improvement in his health that, on his own 
most pressing solicitations, the doors were at last opened 
to him. He entered the Seminary of Annecy in 1851. 

He had not been there many months, however, before 
he began to feel the first attacks of a disease which 
eventually and little by little extended to all his mem- 
bers. This disease was no other than a gradual decay 
of the envelopes of the spinal marrow. All persons are 
aware — even those who have no knowledge of medical 
science — that affections of this nature nearly always 
produce partial or complete paralysis in some part of 
the human system. In the present case the larynx was 
first attacked, and the young man lost his voice entirely. 
He was consequently obliged to leave Annecy and' 
return home. 

His faith, his piety, and his ardent desire to devote 

hiiaself to the service of God grew and strengthened in 
the atmosphere of affliction. And thus several years 
passed away. 

At last he made a pilgrimage to Tours, where, after 
praying long and fervently before the Sacred Face 
venerated in M. Dupont's house, Victor completely 
recovered his voice, and instantly took advantage of his 
ciu'e to resume the interrupted course of his studies ; 
but he did not return to Annecy, as the climate was 
considered too rigorous for him. He went, instead, to 
the Seminary of St. Sulpice, at Paris. 

The health he had recovered in one way soon began 
to be compromised in others. During his residence at 
Saint-Sulpice, his sight grew so weak that he could not 
receive Holy Orders under the usual conditions. His 
great fervour, his high intellectual culture, and the 
manifest signs of his. vocation, were so many reasons 
for not refusing him the humble place he solicited in 
the ranks of the clergy ; he was received as sub-deacon, 
but with the most exceptional dispense of the Breviary, 
of which the obligation was replaced for him by that of 
the daily recital of the holy Kosary. 

And then, as if physical light diminished in him in 
proportion as spiritual light increased and he gradually 
drew nearer to the sanctuary of the Sun of Justice, his 
eyes became so bad, that when he was ordained a priest, 
on the 24th of September, 1859, at the age of thirty-one, 
it was found necessary to go even beyond the dispensa- 
tion of the Breviary. It was impossible for him to read 
the large print of the Missal, and he received permission 
to say one single mass, which he knew by heart, be- 
ginning : Salve, sancta Parens, enixa piierpera Begem. 

It was the mass of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God 
and Consolation of the Afflicted. 

What a f&,e the celebration of that first mass was for 
him ! It took place in the chapel of Digoine the day 
after his ordination. No conqueror entering a van- 
quished citadel in triumph, after a prolonged siege full 
of danger and fatigue ; no king, mounting the steps of 
a long-disputed throne, ever felt more exultingly happy 
than the young priest when he went up to the altar for 
the first time. 

His mother, Madame de Musy, had in her possession 
a relic which she regarded as an inestimable treasure. 
It was the amice of an eminent priest of our own times, 
proclaimed Venerable by the voice of the Church.* 
The Abb4 de Musy wished to associate this precious 
relic with his solemn entry on his priestly functions, 
therefore he wore, at the celebration of his first mass, 
the amice of the Curd of Ars. 

Having thus attained to the supreme accomphshment 
of the ambition of his childhood and youth, he conse- 
crated the Body of the Lord every morning in the 
chapel of the paternal mansion, and distributed the 
Bread of Life to those from whom he had received his 
being, and to the old servants, bent with age, who once 
had watched over his cradle. His mother, his father, 
his brother, his sister, the old housekeeper Claudine, 

* The amice is the first part of the liturgic vestment worn by the 
priest at the celebration of Mass. It is a sort of little linen mantle, 
the npper part of which goes round the neck, while the lower part 
covers the shoulders and back. During a retreat made by Madame de 
Musy at Ars, the amice had been given her, after much entreaty, by 
the venerable Ciir^, who entertained a respectful friendship for her, 
and considered her as a soul especially favoured of God. 

aud all the domestics, communicated from his hand. 
Not being able to administer an ordinary living, his 
parish was composed of the narrow but beloved circle 
of home. Klial and fraternal compensation ! 

But, alas ! in 1862, only two years after his ordina- 
tion, his legs were attacked in their turn, and soon 
became useless and motionless. The Abbe de Musy 
could no longer mount to the sanctuary, nor even stand 
upright, and he saw Mmself forced from that time to 
abandon the celebration of Mass. Paralysis, following 
its course, had torn him from the promised land, and 
exiled him from the Altar. He was then thirty-four 
years of age. Contrary to the general order of human 
economy, his youth had passed in a gradual decrease of 
vitality, and at the age when a man is in the full vigour 
of his prime, he found himself bowed down and helpless 
with infirmity. 


Whenever it is question of the different miseries 
which overwhelm huhianity, the mind turns naturally 
back to the Biblical type of suffering. But it must be 
acknowledged that, more fortunate than Job, the Abb4 
de Musy was not abandoned and rejected by those 
dearest to him. 

Around his person and his sufferings were grouped a 
devoted family, softening by their attentions the bitter- 
ness of his trials, and, if we might hazard such a com- 
parison, forming for his untimely misfortunes a downy 
pillow, a couch of repose, relief, and peace. 

In that family one figure especially commanded re- 
spect and attracted attention. To introduce it to the 

readers is the only means of initiating them into the 
intimate life of the Ch§,teau of Digoine. 

Madame de Musy, then about sixty-five, was the 
type of the Valiant Woman of the Old Testament, but 
with all the pious tenderness and ardent charity of the 
Christian of later times. Orabat et Zabordbat. She lived 
for God, and God dwelt in her. The brightness, we 
had almost said the glory, of her virtues illuminated the 
ancient Chateau and all the little corner of Burgundy 
that surrounded it. The mother of the paralytic priest 
realised in our century the religious type of the ch§,te- 
laine, such as it is sometimes shown to us by the Lives 
of the Saints or the Golden Legend, in the old feudal 
burghs of the Middle Ages. Above all, she rendered 
her husband happy. " The heart of her husband," says 
the Scripture, " doth safely trust in her, she will render 
him good and not evil all the days of her life." For 
half a century that sublime prophecy of the Scriptures 
had been realised in the house of the Count de Musy. 

She had brought up her two sons and her daughter 
in the love of God and of their fellow-creatures, and 
she watched with equal solicitude over the numerous 
domestics who composed her household and whom she 
regarded as the second degree of her family. If her 
children loved her as a mother, her servants loved her 
as a benefactress. All venerated her, and each one, 
impregnated as it were with her spirit, and guessing her 
thoughts, obeyed her at every hour of the day without 
her ever having occasion to give an order. It was the 
reign of intellect and the empire of love. Like Eliza- 
beth of Hungary, she had a special predilection for the 
poor and the unhappy. After morning prayer, Mass 

and meditation, she inaugurated each day by the 
touching exercise of works of mercy. 

As early as ten in the morning, a procession of the 
sick and indigent might be seen coming towards the 
Chateau to seek from her hand the help that was never 
refused them. " I have just been knocking at God's door," 
she would then say as she finished her oraison ; " now 
God is knocking at mine." 

Among her visitors were the needy of every sort. 
One wanted a warm covering for winter ; another, broth, 
or meat, or medicine for some sick person detained at 
home ; another asked for baby linen ; several arrived 
limping, or their arihs in slings, to have their wounds 

For Madame de Musy had determined, not only to 
have a medicine chest for the distribution of remedies, 
but to devote herself personally to the care of the sick 
poor ; and for that purpose she had studied in her youth, 
with extreme care and a rare perfection, the first secrets 
of the art of healing. No one knew better than she 
how to prescribe an antidote for a fever or a cooling 
draught for a restless patient. Every sort of suffering 
found its specific where she was ; she knew what it 
ought to be, she had it and she gave it ; nay, more, her 
noble hands were made the servants of pain, binding up 
wounds, dressing ulcers, spreading over each sore the 
healing ointment that was to calm and cure it. Or 
with a large apron on, like a Sister of Charity, she would 
take by turns from her case of instruments, either a pair 
of scissors for cutting away dead or proud flesh, or 
nitrate of silver for burning it off, or a curved needle 
for sewing up a wound. Everything was done with 


thoughtful care and a feeling of tender commiseration. 
Nothing could surpass the firmness and gentleness of 
her operations and dressings ; she had if one might so 
express it, the dexterity of love — her fingers were in- 
fluenced by the delicacy of her nature. 

In some cases she would say : " What you have the 
matter with you is beyond my reach, you must see the 
doctor. Sit down and warm yourself while I send for 
him.'' Then the doctor would come, and the admirable 
sick nurse would take another lesson from him as she 
stood by while he attended the patient. 

The labourers and vine-dressers to whom some acci- 
dent had happened, perhaps a cut or a sprain, would 
hasten to Madame de Musy from all the neighbourhood, 
and from many leagues round. If anyone asked them : 
" Where are you going in this state, my good man ? " the 
answer would be : "I am going to be cured by the 
'Good Lady'"! 

" The Good Lady ! " It was the name, the only name, 
by which she was known in the whole country-side. 
To the question so often asked — " What is glory ? " we 
might reply, " True glory is this ! " 

Madame de Musy had a lieutenant, a right arm, a 
helper after her own heart. Claudine was always near 
her mistress, and at a sign from her, after the wound had 
beeni dressed, or the sprain bound up, the old house- 
keeper would go and fetch from her inexhaustible cup- 
boards and store-rooms, clothes, linen, or food — remedies 
of another sort for the dire evil of want — which were 
distributed with wisdom and judgment. 

Many of these poor people brought fuU baskets with 
them, which they emptied on the table under the eye 


of the traditional Claudine. Everywhere else they 
simply asked an alms, but beneath this charitable roof 
they effected an exchange. The "Good Lady" had 
found means to make the weakest of those poor dis- 
inherited ones work without fatigue for the common 
good. She had taught them to know a certain number 
of medicinal plants, and had said to them, " When you 
see them on your road, pick them and bring them to 
me. In that way, yoii, who are poor, wiU exercise 
charity towards the sick." 

So they made a collection of simples ; and going from 
Digoine with their baskets filled to the brim with succu- 
lent provisions in exchange for the grass of the fields, 
having received besides a most cordial " Thank you," 
from the mistress of the house, the poor creatures would 
depart- with a certain delightful consciousness of having 
been public benefactors. 

Whoever was in need or suffering, no matter what 
their Belief or Unbelief, their conduct or misconduct, 
were sure to find easy access to the " Good Lady ". 
She often used to say : " Our Lord never made any 
distinction between the ' deserving ' or the ' undeserv- 
ing' poor. If they are unhappy, it is a sufficient 
reason for helping them. God alone is the judge." 

" God alone is the judge ! " That thought guided her 
conduct, regulated her speech, and controlled even her 
silence. Notwithstanding the depth of her convictions 
and the natural vivacity of her disposition, she was 
never heard to speak ill, either of those whose ideas 
were opposed to hers, of persons who did not follow 
the path she trod herself, nor yet, which is still more 
rare in this world, of her neighbours, her acquaint- 


ances, or her friends. Evil speaking, remarks on the 
personal affairs of others, on their faults or defects, 
fault-finding, back-biting — all those sins of speech which 
form the substance of most conversation in the country 
— were carefully excluded from the Ch§,teau of Digoine. 

Madame de Musy suffered cruelly and burned with 
indignation if a word prejudicial to others was uttered 
in her presence, but she controlled herself and allowed 
nothing to escape her which could distress her visitors. 
If their conversation took a tone she disapproved, the 
mistress of the house went on with her work, and 
maintained a silence so profound that it was understood, 
and, as it were, heard like the irrepressible voice of 
conscience. Then, resuming the dialogue again by some 
easy and graceful transition, an interesting anecdote, or 
a philosophical reflection, she would simply give another 
turn to the current of talk, and thus maintain the rights 
of charity towards the absent without having been 
wanting in courtesy to the persons present. Instead of 
noisily driving slander away, she politely dismissed it, 
going pleasantly to the door with it and there bidding 
it a final adieu. 

Her intellect, naturally of a high order, had been 
carefully developed; and she excelled in the art of 
conversation. She could joke and smUe on occasion, 
but her disposition was more inclined to gravity, and 
she loved to draw the conversation from all other topics 
to the higher regions of religion and philosophy. 

Many souls full ,of trouble, many minds overwhelmed 
with difficulties had recourse to her counsels. And in 
such cases she was a clever and delicate confidante, 
inexhaustible in charity and resource. The troubles 


hidden beneath silk and gold were no less efficaciously 
succoured by her than the material miseries that showed 
themselves beneath their ragged coverings. 

The little kingdom of Digoine was worthy of such a 
queen. M. de Musy was one of those men whom the 
Scriptures designate by a term as grand as it is brief. 
He was a "just man," under the eye of God. 

Humbert, Victor, and Genevieve had been brought 
up in this noble school of Christianity and virtue, and 
the succeeding generation, composed of Humbert's two 
children, Marie and Symphorien, were being formed by 
the light of the same examples. 

There was a friend, almost an adopted son, who lived 
in the house and made one of the family. Providence 
had placed him beneath that favoured roof where he 
had gained the affection of all. His name was the 
Abbd Antoine. 


Some years previously, when on a visit to Mgr. 
Decouvoux at Evreux,, Victor de Musy, whose eyes 
were already failing him, had taken for his reader a boy 
to whom he became attached. He had him educated, 
and the young man, hearing within himself as he grew 
up, the voice of God, entered the Seminary of Saint 
Sulpice and received Holy Orders. He was the young 
Abb^ of whom we speak, and he occupied the position 
of secretary to the paralytic priest. 

AH the care and solicitude of these noble hearts were 
centred on the poor invalid. Who shall tell what 
fervent prayers daily ascended for his recovery ? 

Although the faculty had pronounced in the most 


positive manner on the incurable nature of the paralysis, 
they recalled to mind, sometimes, a far-away circum- 
stance which roused in their hearts a faint glimmer of 
hope. At the heginning of Victor's illness (a long time ago 
now), Mile. Genevieve had gone on a pilgrimage to Ars. 

" Will my brother ever be cured ? " she asked of the 
venerable Cure. 

"Make a noveno to Sainte Philomfene, and after I 
will answer you." 

When the noveno was ended, Genevieve again con- 
sulted the Man of God. 

" Will my brother ever be cured ? " 

" He will recover .one day, but you must have 

" Will he be radically cured so as to have no remem- 
brance of his illness ? " 

" Yes, he wiU be radically cured so as to forget his 
illness completely, but you must have patience ! . . ." 

And the Priest's thoughts seemed to penetrate through 
space into the mysterious depths of the unfathomable 

So said Genevieve. . . . But, alas ! was it quite 
sure that the good Cur6 of Ars was favoured with the 
gift of prophecy ? Was it quite sure that Mile. Gene- 
vieve's memory was absolutely to be trusted ? Was it 
quite sure that the ardent desire of her heart had not 
attached to some vague words of hope, such as pity 
pours into the ear of the afflicted, an imaginary sense 
and meaning as of a certain promise and an assured 
vision of things to come ? 

Notwithstanding his infirmity, the Abb6 de Musy 
found means to lead an active life. He had books of 


religion or study read to hira, or he dictated letters, or 
received visits from pious persons who applied to him 
for confession or guidance. Sometimes, even, when his 
voice was pretty strong, he would be carried to the 
pulpit and there preach the Word of life. 

He might be seen, nearly every day, passing tin the 
carriage which he often drove himself. Carried along 
by the obedient strength of the animal under his hand,- 
he would almost feel for the moment an illusiori, as it 
were, of returning life and vigour. In this iway he 
went about the neighbourhood of Digoinfe ■ wherever 
there was trouble to be relieved, courage to be raised, 
or some charitable work to be accomplished. He sat 
at the bedside of the sick, and remembering the teach- 
ings of the " Good Lady " at whose school he had 
received many a useful lesson, would advise the treat- 
ment to be followed. Ill himself, he gave health to 
others. But most often his prescription was : " Go and 
see my Mother ". 

He was very popular in those parts where everyone 
knew him, and where, with the exception of his stay at 
the Seminary, and the short visit to Evreux, his child- 
hood and painful youth had been passed. Although he 
wore the priest's habit, he was looked ujon above aU, 
as the son of the Ch§,teau of Digoine. In spite of his 
title of Abb^ and his cassock, the domestics and the 
country people hardly ever called him otherwise than 
" Monsieur Victor ". 


At some little distance from Digoine stood another 
Burgundian mansion in which lived, or rather in which 


was dying, an old relative of the family, M. de Montagu, 
He suffered from dropsy of the heart, a hopeless disease 
that was hurrying him to the grave. The paralytic 
priest went to see him frequently, and the two men so 
cruelly tried, happy in each other's society, forgot their 
sufferings in long and interesting conversations. It was 
then October, 1870. 

But what did they find to say, and what was the 
constant subject of their talks ? It is so consoling to 
teU one's troubles to a friend that perhaps they com- 
plained to each other of their afflictions. ISTot at all. 
They were christians, and their souls rose far above 
mere personal considerations. Neither the old man 
leaving the world, nor the young priest condemned to a 
life of impotence, had any thought for themselves. They 
talked of France and they talked of God: of France 
vanquished and God forgotten. In sounding the causes 
of our terrible defeat they rightly attributed them, not 
to the errors of military tactics, which were, however, 
most glaring, but rather to moral defection. "God," they 
would often say, " has been driven from our laws, our 
institutions, and our army. What can prevent the 
edifice from crumbling to ruin when the foundation is 
taken away." 

"Can you believe, Victor,'' M. de Montagu would 
say, "that in the whole army of France, the eldest 
daughter of the Church, there is not, at the present 
time, a single chief who, before the battle, publicly asks 
for the alliance and help of the Almighty? Can 
you believe that not a single battalion has its colours 
marked with a christian sign ? Ah ! if France and her 
soldiers would but return to God, the Master who now 


punishes us for our instruction would cease to chastise 
when once we had understood the lesson. There must 
be a reaction before we can act ; we must turn back, 
before we can march forward; we must conquer our- 
selves, before we can conquer others." 

" Alas ! we are far from that ! " cried the Abb^ de 

" Who knows ? . . . They say that Cathelineau and 
Charette are busy raising a Catholic regiment. If it be 
so they shall have my son Stephen, and while the father 
dies here, praying for his country, the son shall give his 
life for it on the field of battle. It is certain that such 
a body of volunteers, formed in the name of God, and 
of His Christ, will be a temfic legion. Even if only a 
handful of men, the Lord will grant such great and 
special glory to their arms that the little cohort shall 
shine like a star in the darkened firmament of our 
national disasters. And Evidence will force History to 
the conclusion, that if but half the army had resembled 
that heroic and christian Legion, France would have 
triumphed and been saved." 

While agreeing with M. de Montagu in these ideas, 
to which he was constantly recurring with the perti- 
nacity peculiar to old age, the Abb6 de Musy could not 
help wondering sometimes, whether the half-dogmatic, 
half-prophetic assertions of this relative were not rather 
the dreamy fancies of a brain weakened by age and 

About this time the Prussians occupied a third of the 
territory. Almost the whole of our regular army was 
in captivity beyond the Ehine or imprisoned within the 
walls of Metz. Paris was besieged, and the German 


troops had marched forward from day to day without 
once encountering a single check or having to give way 
one single step. Instead of the battalions of the Crimea 
and Italy we had poor inexperienced recruits directed 
by a government of adventurers. Such was the situa- 

"Now," resumed M. de Montagu, one day as he 
ended the conversation, " you and I must do our duty. 
We must try to save our country, and turn the fortunes 
of our arms." 

On hearing such an extraordinary proposal from a 
man almost at his last gasp, to a priest miserably para- 
lysed and motionless in his invalid chair, the Abb6 de 
Musy turned on his companion a surprised and anxious 

" Alas ! what can we do except pray ? " 

"Praying is fighting," replied the old gentleman 
gravely ; " but we can do more. We can act." 

" In what manner ? " 

"The Blessed Margaret-Mary wrote these words: 
France, will he, saved hy the Sacred Heart. Well! 
Perhaps the time so foretold has now arrived, for 
Prance seems really threatened with destruction. Let 
us try, therefore, to put into the hands of our soldiers, 
and at the head of our defenders, a truly christian stan- 
dard, with the venerated emblem of the Heart of Jesus 
Christ embroidered in its folds. We wiU do all we 
possibly can for that : of ourselves, by our friends, and 
by our coimections : and we wHL send that banner to 
Paris, that it may float, in testimony of the Faith of 
France, on the walls of our besieged capital." 



The Abb^ de Musy was so struck by the idea that he 
immediately resolved to put it into execution. " It is 
you who have originated the thought," he said ; " I will 
see that it is accomplished." 

It has not been forgotten that he was unable to write 
himself, because of the state of his eyes, and it happened 
that the Abb^ Antoine was away at the time. He dic- 
tated, therefore, to his sister Genevieve a pressing letter 
for the Superioress of the convent of the Visitation of 
Paray-le-Monial couched in these terms : " I beg you 
to have executed, by the nuns of your Community and 
at my expense, a banner of the Sacred Heart, on which 
is to be embroidered in letters of gold, as a remembrance 
of our Lord's promise to the Blessed Margaret-Mary, 
Gmur de Jesus, sauvez la France .'" In a few days came 
the answer of the Eeverend Mother, informing them 
that the banner had been sent off. " I have had the 
same idea for a long time," she wrote, " but I waited to 
know the will of God. Your request was to me as a 
voice from Heaven. We set to work immediately . . . 
The Banner is finished, and I have sent the case con- 
taining it to Mgr. Bouange, Archdeacon of Autun, 
begging him to forward it to you." No later than the 
next day, in fact, the prelate informed the masters of 
the Oh§,teau of Digoine that the Banner was in his pos- 


It was no easy matter to introduce this new sort of 
Labarum into Paris, and hand it over to General Trochu. 


The enemy surrounded the capital on every side, and 
intercepted all communication. 

There lived at that time, at Tours, where the govern- 
ment of the National defence had taken refuge, an 
illustrious servant of God, M. Dupont. 

Twenty years before, young Victor de Musy had re- 
covered his voice before the Sacred Face of Our Lord, 
venerated in the house of that eminent christian, and 
• was thus enabled to continue and terminate his ecclesi- 
astical studies, and be received into Holy Orders. He 
saw, therefore, in M. Dupont, a valuable auxiliary, and 
to him he sent the Banner of the Sacred Heart. 

" If possible," he wrote, " try and forward it to General 
Trochu; if not, entrust it to one of the chiefs of our 
heroic crusaders, for example, M. de Charette or M. de 
Cathelineau." It happened that, by a remarkable 
coincidence. General de Charette arrived at Tours at 
that very time, to effect the definitive organisation of 
liis battalions ; and he said to M. Dupont, who had gone 
to call upon him at the Hdtel de Londres : " My zouaves 
wear the emblem of the Sacred Heart on their breasts, 
and the only thing they want now is the Standard ". 

" Providence has sent it you," replied the servant of 
God. A few hours later, in M. Dupont's oratory and 
before the picture of the Sacred Face, the box contain- 
ing the Banner of the Sacred Heart, that banner pro- 
cured by the Abb^ de Musy from the nuns of the 
Visitation, was opened in the presence of a few pious 
christians. M. de Charette received it as a gift from 
heaven and an assurance of glory.* 

* The case containing tlie Banner was opened before the Sacred 
Face. The persons present were ; General de Charette, M. Dupont, 


This royal and patriotic standard was the rallying 
point of the volunteers of the West. Beneath its shade, 
or rather beneath its light, was fought the battle of 
Patay : the noblest deed of arms chronicled in our his- 
tory during those disastrous times. 

Three martyrs, M; de Verthamon, and MM. de 
BouilM, father and son, perished successively in the 
brief interval of half-an-hour, while raising on high 
the Banner of Jesus and of France. And during that 
time, under the fire of a formidable artillery extending 
over fifteen hundred metres, the terrible Legion rushed 
on an enemy ten times their number, executing in 
modern times, and for the defence of their country, a 
charge as memorable as the famous resistance of the 
three hundred Spartans buried at Thermopylee. 

M. de Montagu had enrolled his son Stephen amongst 
the volunteers of France, and the young man had 
valiantly fought beneath the Catholic Standard pro- 
cured by the initiative of his pious father and the 
prompt action of the Abb^ de Musy. He did not, how- 
ever, long survive those terrible struggles in which he 
had received incurable wounds. Two years of suffering 
and weakness brought him to the tornb, and when he 
felt his end approaching, and the moment near when 

M- Eatel, Dr. de la Tremblaye aad his son Martin de la Tremblaye, 
novr a Benedictine in tlie Congregation of Solesmes ; tte Duchess of 
Fitz^James, the children of M. de Charette, and Mme. Enule Lafon. 

Prayer was made before the Sacred Face for the safety of France : 
it was decided that the Banner should be entrusted to the R. F. Rey 
to be deposited in the tomb of Saint Martin untE the morrow, and that 
these words should be embroidered on the back of it : " Saint Martin 
proiegez la France ! " The design for the embroidery was immediately 
made by the ladies present, and executed by the Carmelite nuns. {Life 
of M. Dupont, by the Abbe Janvier, Vol. II., p. 468.) 


he should join his father, — called to God some little 
time before — he had himself taken to Lourdes to die 
there. The- Sacred Heart had protected his life on the 
hattle-field : the Immaculate Virgin blessed and con- 
soled his dying hour. The body of Stephen de Montagu 
reposes at Lourdes ; and from its resting-place in that 
sacred ground it will rise again, at the hour hidden from 
all — the hour of the resurrection of the dead. 


While the Standard of the Sacred Heart, given to the 
Christian Legion by the Abbe de Musy, was pursuing 
its glorious career, the long hours of national mourning 
were passed at Digoine in works of mercy and in prayer. 
They visited the sick and wounded who had come back 
to their homes ; they came to the help of those whom 
the departure, or, alas ! the death, of a son or a husband 
had left without resource ; they provided for those 
whom the war had made orphans ; they made lint or 
cut up bandages ; in short, their charity assumed eveiy 
form and discharged every office ; and in the evening 
when the duties of the day were accomplished, they 
found strength and courage for the morrow's work by 
turning their eyes, their thoughts, and their conversa- 
tion towards the things of heaven and the mercies of 
God. After the evening meal, all the inhabitants of 
the Ch§,teau assembled for reading and prayer. The 
food that sustained their physical strength was served 
in different rooms, the dining-room or the servants' hall, 
according to the social distinctions ordained by an 
All-wise Providence ; but the spiritual bread of the 


soul was broken in common, and at the sound of the 
bell, masters and servants hastened to gather round 
the same lamp, to listen together to the words of Divine 
Truth that fell from the lips of the reader. 

At that dreadful period of war, by the permission, or 
rather by the Will of God, the book chosen for the. 
•evening readings at the Ch§,teau was the one bearing 
the title of Notre Dame de Lourdes; and the family, 
prepared by a long practice of evangelical virtues, to 
appreciate in a special manner whatever served to cele- 
brate the Greatness and Mercy of the invisible Master 
of the World, were deeply touched by this history of 
the Apparitions and Miracles of Mary in our own times. 
They listened with clasped hands and tearful eyes to the 
recital of those divine events, recalled by the narrator 
under the auspices of Faith, Hope and Love. 

" No, no," they would say, " God cannot have aban- 
doned France, since on its soil, His Most Holy Mother 
has chosen to appear to men, and enrich them with her 
gifts. . . . The catastrophe that overwhelms us is a 
trial, not an irredeemable ruin, and the Vision of 
Lourdes, like the Star in the East, announces that 
sooner or later we shall be saved." 

It was a strange circumstance that, though the book 
often treated of miraculous cures, neither the Abb^ de 
Musy, nor any member of the family circle (except, per- 
haps, the Mother, in the secret of her heart), seemed to 
have the least idea of asking a similar grace for him. 
Indeed, the Abbe de Musy had been so often pronounced 
incurable by the doctors, that he was completely re- 
signed to his fate, and had had no thought for many years 
of the possibility of being cured of his disease by any 


means either natural or supernatural. He did not even 
"wish it. The successive attacks of paralysis had ap- 
peared to him as the graduated stations of the steep 
path, always ascending, that the Imitation of Jesus 
Christ calls " The Eoyal road of the Cross ". 

" We have each our vocation," he would say ; " mine 
is infirmity. I wanted to be a priest ; God intended 
me to lead a life of suffering. May His Holy Name 
be praised ! " 


The war was over, and a great religious movement 
was manifest in Catholic France. Streams of Christians 
flowed from all parts towards Lourdes to supplicate the 
Virgin who had appeared to Bernadette ; and the Eocks 
of Massabiella were, so to speak, bathed in the count- 
less and incessant waves of prayer that broke at their 
base, always the same yet always varying, sublime in 
their unity and variety. The unbelieving world was 
lost in amazement at the sight of that perpetual and 
universal Procession of Peoples, rendered still more 
remarkable by the accomplishment of such miracles as 
had never been seen in any age. 

By a counter movement easily understood, the im- 
mense tide setting in towards Lourdes revived the great 
idea and religious practice of Christian Pilgrimage, and 
turned public attention to other centres of prayer. 
Crowds of the Faithful reappeared at Eocamadour, 
Paray-le-Monial and Chartres. 

Now, Paray-le-Monial is only three hours from 
Digoine, and the Abbd de Musy, whose devotion to- 
wards the Sacred Heart had in some sort increased 


two-fold by all we have related about the ' Standard of 
Patay, resolved, all helpless as he was, to go and visit 
the celebrated place where, two hundred years before, 
the devotion so dear to him had originated. Accom- 
panied by one of his servants he arrived at Paray at 
the end of May, 1873, intending to pass all the month 
of June there. 

The first person he met on entering the humble and 
celebrated village, was a poor paralytic beggar, pain- 
fully dragging himself along by the help of crutches, 
with his feet encased ia shapeless wrappings, and 
begging his bread. For five and twenty years the 
people of Paray -le-Monial had been familiar with the 
figure of the old man, whose head, superb and resigned, 
bronzed by the sun and the inclemencies of the seasons, 
shone, nevertheless, with the peculiar halo sometimes 
observed, and not without religious awe, in that mys- 
terious presence known to aU civilised nations by the 
august name of " the Poor ". 

The Abb6 de Musy was particularly touched by the 
sight of an infirmity so exactly like his own, and being 
powerless to relieve the unfortunate man in his physiced 
sufferings, he took pleasure in lightening the burden of 
his poverty. His left hand ignored what his right 
hand did, but it is probable that his alms were liberal 
and accompanied by gracious and pleasant words, such 
as flowed habitually from his heart and softened the 
sorrows of the afflicted. Hand ignara malis, miseris 
succurrere disco. The poor man blessed his benefactor, 
and his grateful eyes rested for an instant on his face 
with a strange intensity of expression. Whether the 
man was a stranger to the place, or whether he was 


■without family, it is impossible to say ; all that was 
known of him was his christian name. They called 
him Jean Marie. 

Two days after, on the 2nd of June, five hundred 
pilgrims from Marseilles arrived at Paray. The Abbe 
de Musy, drawn along in his invalid chair, followed the 
processions, and took part in all the services. The 
preacher who announced the Word of God to the people, 
remarked, in the congregation, the paralytic priest lis- 
tening attentively, and after Mass he hastened to him 
to give him some fraternal proof of sympathy. As he 
talked with him, hope rose in his heart, the hope that 
the afi&icted priest would one day see, in this life, the 
end of his trials. 

" You will be cured," he said, with an accent of cer- 
tainty which surprised himself. " Promise me two 
things, to pray for my parish, and to write and tell me 
when you recover." 

" The first promise is easy to keep," replied the in- 
valid ; " but the second depends on the Will of God." 
And he shook his head with a smUe of incredulity. 
This took place in the morning. 

In the evening an extraordinary and unexpected event 
profoundly affected the pilgrims of Marseilles. 

Paray-le-Monial is a place of prayer where the 
celestial effusions of spiritual .life descend softly , into 
the soul; but it is only very exceptionally a land of 
miracles. The diversity of the gifts of God, spoken of 
by St. Paul in reference to persons, seems equally ap- 
plicable to things. Just as in the sacraments, the water 
of Baptism, the sacred chrism of Confirmation, or the 
holy oils of Extreme Unction are so many channels of 


different graces, so certain privileged sanctuaries and 
certain centres of devotion are more particularly dis- 
tinguished by especial supernatural advantages and 
benefits. But, as it sometimes happens that at the 
instant of Baptism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit peculiar 
to Confirmation descend on the catechumen, in like 
manner, and at wide intervals, a few rare and miraculous 
cures will take place, contrary to the usual order of 
tilings, in Places of Pilgrimage that do not seem 
habitually to have been established by God for those 
particular graces. 

The event which had excited the PUgrims on the 2nd 
June, 1873, was precisely a miraculous cure — no other 
than that of old Jean Marie, the beggar, who, the evening 
before, when the Abb^ de Musy had given him alms, 
had looked at him with such deep gratitude and such 
strange intensity. At a certain moment, and while all 
the congregation were kneeling in prayer, the paralytic 
man suddenly stood up, and walking up the church 
between the rows of the Faithful, went and deposited 
his crutches, — the crutches he had used for twenty-five 
years — on the tomb of the Blessed ' Margaret-Mary. 
The Abbe de Musy's happiness was great when he 
beheld the beneficent and almighty power of God, per- 
iorming at Paray, on the indigent and infirm, the same 
miracles as it had accomplished in other times by the 
hands of Jesus on the banks of the lake of Genesareth. 
He congratulated Jean Marie without any thought of 
himself, for he had arrived, as we have already said, at 
that state of resignation when hope no longer exists. 
The joy he felt at the miraculous cure was full and 
without alloy. 


" You will be walking and running now," said he 
gaily to Jean Marie — " you, who for twenty-five years 
have not been able to make so much as one step. But 
the legs that God has cured must not go bare-footed. 
I will give you your first pair of shoes." 

It was one of his greatest daily pleasures, to converse 
with the poor man and hear him talk of God. 


If the Abb4 de Musy had abandoned Hope, it hap- 
pened that Hope had not abandoned him, but followed 
him closely up. The words of the priest from Marseilles 
were reiterated by other lips like an echo of the pro- 
phecy of the Cur^ of Ars. He had been at Paray-le- 
Monial about three weeks, when, on the 22nd of June, 
one of his relatives, the Chanoinesse de Pomey, accom- 
panied by her brother, M. de Pomey arrived at the 
sanctuary of the Sacred-Heart. 

The ancient title of Chanoinesse does not indicate, as 
many suppose, a Keligious in the fullest acceptation of 
the word. It is generally conferred as an honorary 
distinction, and with the obligation of daily reciting a 
particular Office, on certain persons of society to whom 
the Church owes a debt of gratitude for some important 
good work accomplished. His Eminence Cardinal' de 
Bonald had obtained it for Mme. de Pomey. Although 
there was a near relationship between this lady and the 
Abb^ de Musy, they had, in the course of time, almost 
entirely lost sight of each other, as so frequently happens 
when members of the same family are separated by 
distance. They had not met for twenty years, and in 
all that time they had not exchanged one single letter. 


When Mme. de Pomey and her brother heard that 
the Abb^ de MuSy was at Paray, they hastened to call 
on him. The lady looked at him for a moment with 
deep commiseration, as he sat, or rather lay, in his 
invalid chair ; and then, appearing to respond to some 
secret inspiration, she said in a tone of reproach and 
surprise : 

" What are you doing here. Cousin ?" 

" Why," replied the paralytic priest, '' I am doing 
what all the other pilgrims do, and what you are doing 
yourself : I pray, I begin and end novenos, I say the 
psalms and the rosary, I join my poor efforts to the 
fervour of these pious souls" 

" Well, you have no business here ; you. had better go 
at once !" she interrupted. 

" What ! you advise me to go away ? " The astonished 
priest could hardly believe his ears. 

" Certainly I do ! " returned the Chanoinesse. " Your 
place is not here : The Blessed Virgin inteTwis to cure you 
at Lourdes." 

" How do you know ?" asked the invalid, ironically. 
" Are you initiated into the secrets of heaven ?" 

" No, but I am certain the Blessed Virgin means to 
cure you at Lourdes." 

"You pronounce your oracles with the accent of a 
Pythia of Delos or Delphi — she also was convinced, but 
mistaken," resumed the Abbe de Musy, still incredulous. 

" I am not mistaken. Go to Lourdes. The Blessed 
Virgin means to cure you there." 

" My dear cousin, let us be serious and practical. I 
feel your benevolent interest deeply ; it proves how 
anxious you are to see me relieved of my sufferings. 


But that is a most improbable eventuality. I have no 
right to miraculous favours which are reserved for those 
more worthy of them than I am. However, what is 
not only probable but certain is, that a long journey to 
one in my position is a terrible undertaking, full of 
fatigue and pain ; therefore, I must think twice before I 
set off to seek, at some hundreds of leagues of distance, 
a problematic cure that I neither hope nor ask for. But 
although it is difficult for me to move, I contrive every 
year, about August, to stay for a few weeks at some 
watering-place, such as Ems, Hambourg, la Bauche, or 
Divonne, and by that means I prevent my chronic 
infirmity becoming more intolerable by the addition of 
sharp and almost insupportable pains that invariably 
rack my frame during the winter if I have not taken 
the precaution of making a cure of mineral waters, which 
permits me to go through the cold weather pretty easily. 
Now, I cannot go to Lourdes and Divonne at the same 
time, and this year my brother is going to Divonne with 
me. Do you really think it wise or prudent to leave 
the certain for the uncertain, to give up the tried effects 
of the waters, that I may run after a miracle, and sO' 
seem to be trying to force the hand of Providence ?" 

" Come, sister," said M. de Pomey, intervening, " leave 
Victor alone; do not tease him with your imaginary 
notions, but let him do as he thinks best." 

"Why cannot I implant something of my faith in 
your hearts !" resumed the Chauoinesse, more persis- 
tently than ever. " I tell you he must go to Lourdes ! " 

"And next winter," continued the Abb6 de Musy,. 
" when, through having missed my season at the waters,. 
I feel through my shoulders, my knees, my back, shooting 


pains of such violence that they make me cry out, I 
shall say, 'I owe that to my cousin de Pomey'." 

" I willingly accept the responsibility ; but you may 
be sure that the Blessed Virgin means to cure you at 

There are innumerable proverbs on the obstinate 
tenacity of a woman's will, and they are all true. The 
Abb4 de Musy was vanquished. 

"Well, so be it!" said he at last. " I resign myself 
to my fate. But I cannot start before the return of the 
Abb^ Antoine, who will have to be my compaiuon and 

They looked at the almanack and calculated the 

" You must start the 6th of August," said Mme. de 
Pomey, " and you will arrive at Lourdes for the Feast 
of the Assumption." 

A few days after, the Abb^ de Musy heard some one 
knock at the door. He called out, " Come in," and Jean 
Marie entered. 

" Sir," said the beggar, gravely, " you will be cured." 

" How do you know ? " 

" The night preceding my cure, I had a dream in 
which everything was as clear to me as the sun at mid- 
day. I felt that it was not an ordinary dream, but a 
forewarning from heaven. In my dream, I saw myself 
cured, . . . and on the morrow, as you know, I 
stood up on my feet, and deposited my crutches on the 
tomb of the Blessed Margaret-Mary." 

" That is very extraordinary ! " said the Abb6 de 
Musy, with the sort of shiver that nearly always passes 
over one at the contact of the Supernatural. 


" Well," returned the beggar, " last night I had the 
same sort of dream about you. I saw you, with, the 
same clearness, cured and walking about like me, full 
of health and strength." 

This dream, coming immediately on the words of the 
priest from Marseilles and the urgent persuasion of the 
Chanoinesse de Pomey, struck the Abbd de Musy 
forcibly. The prediction of the Cur^ of Ars, which up 
to that time had been lost and half-effaced in the far- 
ofi' mists of memory, now came vividly back to his 


When the Abbd de Musy returned to Digoine towards 
the beginning of July, he informed his family of the 
promise he had made to go to Lourdes. The news of 
that supreme appeal to Mary was received with a strange 
mingling of hope and alarm. If, on the one hand, they 
were all christians and knew that nothing is impossible 
to God; on the other hand, such a long journey to a sick 
man in the state of the Abb^ de Musy, was a trial 
fraught with suffering and danger. It is written, " Trust 
in the Lord " ; but it is also written, " Thou shalt not 
tempt the Lord". The perplexity was great and the 
struggle painful between the theological virtue of Faith 
and the cardinal virtue of Prudence. Their hearts 
oscillated from one sentiment to another according to 
their different dispositions, and the impressions of the 
passing hour, but all took refuge from their anxieties in 
the universal remedy of prayer. 

They wrote to different religious Communities and to 
their friends, to ask them to join in a noveno that was 


to commence on the 8th of August, the day fixed by the 
Abb^ de Musy for his arrival in the town of Mary. 
From the depths of her Convent at Nevers, Bernadette, 
to whom they applied, promised to unite her intentions 
to those of the inhabitants of Digouie. 

The Abb^ de Musy, however, siuce his return from 
Paray, had felt his confidence gradually diminishing, and 
although he determined, as a gentleman, to keep his 
word, he had come by degrees to entertain no sort of 
hope of being cured. 

" It is useless for me to try to persuade myself," he 
said ; " I doubt ! " 

" I tremble," cried the father, alarmed at his son's 
undertaking such a painful and adventurous journey. 

"We hope!" responded Mile. Genevieve, M.Humbert, 
and the young people. 

"I believe," repeated the mother invariably. And 
thus weeks passed away and the hour of departure ar- 
rived. In the invalid priest's room the Abb^ Antoine 
was packing and the Abb^ de Musy talking. 

" I think it absolutely impossible, my good friend, 
that the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes should restore me. 
to health! . . . My vocation is to suffer. . . . 
And yet, if Mary willed it and gave me strength enough 
to go up again to the Altar in her sanctuary. . . . 
Oh 1 then I should celebrate that Mass of my resur- 
rection as I celebrated my first Mass thirteen years 
ago, in the amice of the Cure of Ars. At all risks 
we will take that amice. . . . But what am I 
saying ? It is impossible I Nothing but a waking 
dream ! " 



On the 6tla of August, the Abb6 be Musy left the 
Chateau de Digoine for Lourdes, taking with him the 
Abbd Antoine as his only travelling companion. 

" Follow me with your prayers, it is all I ask ! " he 
said to his family. 

It was a lovely summer night when he started, the 
weather was calm and warm, and the moon shone softly 
over the fields and forests. At midnight the carriage 
stopped at the railway station. 

" We are at Chagny," said the Abb^ Antoine. 
If the future could have been revealed to them, or if 
they had had a presentiment at that moment, the name 
of Chagny would have interested them strangely, and 
they would have looked with attentive eyes on the 
aspect of the town and the outline of the old church 
spire. But the future was covered as with a veil, and 
Chagny was nothing to them but the first painful stage 
of their pilgrimage through France ; for there began the 
difficulties and sufferings that attended the sick man 
each time he had to be moved from the platform to the 
train, or the train to the platform. 

Two porters and the Abb^ Antoine carried him care- 
fully on to the platform to wait the arrival of the train, 
and the railway officials coming and going, carrjdng 
luggage or giving and receiving orders, were moved with 
pity at sight of him. 

" Has he been long in this state ? " asked one of them. 
"He has been nearly blind for twenty years, and 
paralysed for eleven years." 



" And where is he going like that 1 " 

" To Lourdes." 

" What for ? " 

" To be cured." 

Most of these worthy men were but novices in re- 
ligious matters, and it will be no calumny to say that 
in manner and thought they differed widely from the 
inhabitants of the Chateau of Digoine. Their lives 
were passed amongst the amazing prodigies accom- 
plished by modern science ; they only understood, alas ! 
what was palpable, and were little inclined to believe 
in miracles from heaven. Thus, the expression of con- 
fident hope that would have appeared sublime to pious 
souls, seemed, to the station-master and his men, some- 
what innocent and foolish, and they looked at each 
other as much as to say : — " If one of these priests is 
weak in his body, they must be both of them uncom- 
monly weak in their minds ". However, their opinions 
in no way hindered their solicitude for the invalid, nor 
prevented their taking the utmost care in carrying him 
to the train, that the movement might not increase his 
sufferings. If they were far from the faith of the Cen- 
turion, they had, at least, the charity of the Good 
Samaritan, and without doubt the hand of the Heavenly 
Father blessed their active zeal and their kindly com- 

The paralysed and helpless state of the Abbe de 
Musy, the strange object of his journey, the distinction 
of his person and the long time he had to wait at the 
station, had attracted the attention, not only of the 
railway officials, but also of the other travellers, inhabi- 
tants of Chagny, who were going to take the night train. 


The recollection of the infirm priest going to seek in a 
distant part of the country a cure that the Faculty 
had pronounced impossible, occupied their thoughts and 
fixed itself in their minds. 

At every change of line, the Abb^ de Musy had to 
be carried from one train to the other at the cost of 
great pain, and after a few minutes of waiting, but not, 
alas! of resting, the train resumed its course and steamed 
rapidly towards the town of the Queen of Heaven, cruelly 
shaking his aching limbs in its progress. 

They slept at Cette and arrived at Lourdes the second 
day after their departure from Digoine, on the Friday, 
8th of August, in the evening. 

Eooms had already been secured on the first floor of 
a house in the street of the Grotto, and the paralytic 
priest, exhausted with fatigue, was carried to them by 
the Abbe Antoine and the driver of the fly in which 
they had come from the station. 

The ground-floor of the house where the two pilgrims 
stayed was occupied by a shop of objects of piety. 
They noticed a magnificent statue of Our Lady of 

" If I am cured," said the Abbd de Musy, " this statue, 
the first that has met my eyes here, shall be the one I 
take back to Digoine." . . . 


The following morning he was taken to the Crypt, to 
be present at the Mass that the Abb6 Antoine was to 
celebrate for him. The infirm, the paralytic, all those 
afflicted by any visible infirmity, the pariahs of health. 


often feel a sort of shame in being seen thus disinherited 
of a heavenly gift that nearly everyone possesses. They 
dread the eye of man, and shrink instinctively from 
even benevolent curiosity, most especially in the hour 
of fervent prayer and profound meditation. The pity 
of strangers, even of the best and most pious, seems 
but superficial and troublesome when the aouT is in 
silent and intimate union with the Almighty Consoler. 
Something of this feeling induced the Abbd de Musy to 
have his invalid chair rolled into a dark corner behind 
a pillar to the left of the Altar. He would have liked, 
were it possible, to be seen by none but the Virgin Mary. 
But it happened that behind this pillar another cripple 
had taken refuge, a poor chUd of the working classes 
about fifteen years old, with a most angelic countenance. 
A strongly -built workman had just laid him, with the 
tender precaution of paternal solicitude, on two chairs. 
His face was very pale and etherealised with long 
suffering, his eyes were large and soft, and his hands 
were fervently folded together, indeed, his whole person 
expressed the interior beauty of the pure and innocent 
soul that seemed ready to unfold its wings and soar to 
the Heavenly Country. 

The Abba's dim eyes were attracted by the boy as by 
a light, and his heart was moved with sympathetic pity. 

" What is your name ? " he asked him. 

" My name is Pierre." 

" Well, little Pierre, I will pray for you, and do you 
pray for me." 

" With all my heart, Monsieur I'AhM." . . 

At this moment Mass began. After the consecration, 
the officiating priest carried the Blessed Host to the 


Abb^ de Musy lying motionless in his chair. As for 
little Pierre, the strong workman raised him in his arms, 
and carrying him, extended across his chest, advanced to 
the Holy Table where the priest gave Holy Communion 
to the father and the child. 

After Mass the Abb^ de Musy was taken .down to 
the Grotto, where he remained a very long time. On 
leaving, his friend asked him, " What was passing in 
your mind just now when you were communing with 
the Blessed Virgin ". 

" I was praying to her. I invoked her for all I love, 
for poor little Pierre whom we have just left, and who 
is, at this moment, bathing in the miraculous water. I 
begged for grace to be a better man. . . . Then I 
remembered the special object of my pilgrimage, and 
I said to our Mother : ' Cure me if it is for a greater 
good. I do not even ask you to relieve me of all my 
infirmities, but only to enable me to stand on my legs 
so as to be able to celebrate Holy Mass.' I must own 
that I was frightened at the daring of my prayer, so I 
added: 'Holy Mother, if you do not cure me, I am 
really so happy with my cross, that I shall thank you 
quite as much as if you did '." 

He then went and bathed in the piscina, but nothing 
extraordinary took place. 


On returning to Lourdes, he said to the Abb^ Antoine, 
" I must think of confessing ". 

" Very well. I will go and fetch one of the Fathers 
from the Grotto." 


"No, no!" replied the paralytic priest, "I want to 
confess to the Cur^ of Lourdes, the Abb4 Peyramale. 
He is a priest chosen of the Blessed Virgin. Try and 
find him, and ask him to be good enough to come and 
hear my confession." 

The Abb^ Antoiae set off, but though he searched 
for him the whole afternoon, he could not find him. 
The next morning, Sunday, he went to the sacristy of 
the parish church, and seeing a priest of severe aspect 
about to go up to the Altar, he addressed him respect- 

" Excuse me, sir, you are the Cur^ of Lourdes, I 
think ? " 

" I have not that honour," replied the priest. 

" I beg pardon ! " resumed the Abb^ " but from the 
description of M. Lasserre, I thought . . ." 

" Ah ! if only I was like him in other things besides 
personal resemblance ! " cried the priest, smiling at the 
mistake. " Though he sometimes appears rough outside 
he is all gentleness within, like Saint Paul. Fortis et 
suavis. But here he is." 

The Abb^ Peyramale at that instant opened the door 
of the sacristy. 

" Monsieur le Cur4, a crippled priest in the street of 
the Grotto, wishes to confess to you." 

"Tell him I will come as sooji as I have said 

About an hour after, the Abb^ de Musy saw him enter 
his room. The Curd of the Apparitions saluted the in- 
valid with a fraternal embrace. 

" Courage ! " said he ; " if the Blessed Virgin takes up 
your cause, you will soon be cured." 


Then he sat down beside the Abbe de Musy, and in 
the secret of his chamber received his confession. And 
when, in the name of God, he had pronounced the 
words : Ego te absolve ah omnihus peccatis tuis, etc., he 
rose and walked silently up and down the room, leaving 
his penitent to meditation and prayer. He was, doubt- 
less, praying himself also, and imploring her whose 
apostle he was on earth, to grant their petitions and 
vouchsafe them the cure of that long affliction. Then 
the two priests had a conversation, in which the Abbd de 
Musy related his history. The secret and inviolable 
confession was succeeded by an intimate confidence, in 
the course of which the thoughts and feelings instilled 
by the Cur^ Peyramale into the heart of the invalid 
might be resumed by the one word : " Hope ! " 

It often happens, that when we suddenly find our- 
selves in the presence of some illustrious man whom 
we have known only by a portrait, sketched in outline 
in the pages of a book, we feel a sensation of disap- 
pointment. The contrary was the case with the Abb6 
de Musy. He found the Cure of Lourdes just as he had 
fancied him to be. Indeed the two priests understood 
each other from the first : they spoke the same language, 
they belonged to the same country, they were both 
sons of Mary. 

After the interview, the Abb^ Antoine heard the 
double echo of their impressions. 

" What a noble and priestly heart ! " cried the Cur^ 
Peyramale on leaving the room ; " his mother must be a 

" You are not mistaken," replied the young friend of 
the house, who, better than anyone else, was acquainted 


with the virtues of the mistress of the Ch§,teau of 

" How glad I am," said, on his side, the Abbe de Musy, 
" that you brought me the Chosen Servant of Our Lady 
of Lourdes ! I feel greater confidence since I have seen 
him, and, as it were, a promise of a Miracle. He is 
indeed the Priest of the Blessed Virgin, and his word 
seems, in some sort, an engagement for the Queen of 
Heaven to come to our help." 


The pilgrims who hastened to Lourdes for the Feast 
of the Assumption, soon remarked in their midst the 
paralysed priest, stiU young, visible at all hours in his 
invalid chair, either on the road to the Grotto — we 
might call it with truth the Sacred Road — or in the 
Crypt, or under the vaulted rocks of Massabiella. All 
felt a deep interest in him, and a profound pity and 
sympathy for this labourer of the Lord, who had been 
powerless for so many years, and unable to work in his 
Master's vineyard. 

Christians who had come to invoke for themselves the 
intervention of the Blessed Virgin, prayed for the un- 
known priest as well. What spiritual alms are thus 
given at Lourdes, of which we shall only know the 
secret when the thick shadows that, on earth, veil the 
mysteries of hfe, shall have disappeared, to give place to 
the revelations of eternal light ! 

Two days after his first visit, the Cur^ of Lourdes 
came to see the Abb^ de Musy again. 

" What ! " said he, " the Blessed Virgin has not cured 


you yet ? I shall quarrel with her," he added, smiling 
at his threat, and speaking with a familiarity of ex- 
pression that seemed almost excessive, but that holy 
men of God have employed, from the times of Job and 
David, down to the times of Vincent Terrier and the 
Cur^ of Ars. 

His cheerfulness, his confidence, his absolute faith, 
and the promise of his prayers, brought renewed hope 
to the hearts of the sick man and his companion. 

" We have an advocate with Mary," they said to each 
other. He was not the only one, however. Every 
morning, when the Abb^ de Musy went to Mass in the 
Crypt, he found little Pierre there before him, and 
during the day he met him continually at the Piscina, 
or in the winding paths leading to the Basilica, or at 
the Grotto. These two christians, equally afflicted and 
equally iimocent, sympathised with and consoled each 
other. The conversation of the priest delighted the 
child ; the sight of sufferings so angelically borne edified 
and encouraged the priest. Thus their hearts were drawn 
together by a tender friendship, and each prayed for the 
other more fervently than for himself. The one who 
arrived first at the Piscina kept the place for his friend. 
Little Pierre did not leave it till the Abb6 Antoine 
knocked at the door, and the Abb4 de Musy had got 
into the habit of remaining till he heard the soft voice 
of little Pierre, outside, asking for admittance. What a 
strange intimacy had arisen between these two suffering 
fellow-creatures, who, a week ago, were ignorant of each 
other's existence, but who, coming to the sacred Grotto 
from the two opposite extremes of France, had become, 
beneath the regard of Our Lady of Lourdes, like old 


friends and brothers of the same blood. Cor unum et 
anima una ! 

The one, however, was a patrician of the higher 
classes ; the father of the other was a poor working 
shoemaker of the neighbourhood of Pan. The former 
was a learned priest in the prime of life ; the latter a 
child ignorant of all that men teach. One had the 
terrible responsibility of great riches ; the other, besides 
the trial of disease, bent under the cruel weight of in- 
digence. But contrasts like these, which engender 
division in societies without God, harmonise in the 
superior unity of love amongst christians. And thus a 
sublime friendship was formed before the Altar and in 
the presence of the image of our divine Mother, between 
these two, or rather these three persons, for the father 
of little Pierre, the village shoemaker, Pierre Kochou, 
shared the noble sentiments of his son, and was worthy 
of such a child. 


On the 14th of August, a paralytic woman was sud- 
denly cured at the Grotto. Meeting the Abb^ Antoine 
a short time after, she encouraged him cordially. 

" You must have confidence ! " she said ; " to-day it is 
my turn, to-morrow, I hope, it wiU be your friend's. 
The Blessed Virgin will hear and answer your prayers 
for her glorious Feast of the Assumption." 

The following day was, effectively, the 15th of August, 
the date when the Church celebrates the triumphant 
entry of the Mother of Jesus Christ into the kingdom 
of her Son. Uncertainty and doubt gradually disap- 
peared from the mind of the infirm priest before the 


rays of ever-increasing hope that rose like the dawn in 
his heart, and attained by degrees to the full light of day. 
That radiant daylight of hope of which the Saviour of 
the world has said : " Si potes credere, omnia possihUia 
sunt credenti : If thou canst believe, all things are pos- 
sible to him that beheveth." "Whether it was illusion 
or reality, it seemed to him that the atmosphere of the 
miracle enveloped him, and the captive of so many long 
years of impotent suffering, already pronounced the word 
" Deliverance ! " as Columbus cried " Land ! land ! " 
even before, with his bodily eyes, he had perceived the 
continent beyond the limitless horizon. 

" To-morrow ! to-morrow ! " murmured the priest with 
trembling hps, " may it please Our Lady of Lourdes to 
cure little Pierre, and heal me also if such be her 
sovereign wiU." 

The two priests passed a sleepless night from the 
night of the 14th to the morning of the 15th of August, 
and, as may be supposed, they passed it in prayer. The 
stars trembled in the silent immensity of heaven, and 
here and there, beneath the arches of cloistered chapels, 
where the nightly office assembled the monks and the 
religious ; in solitary rooms where Christian piety 
watched the sick and dying ; on the couches of the just 
where sleeplessness reigned; in thousands of different 
places of the sleeping earth, numberless hearts, illumi- 
nated like suns by the ardent light of Oraison, rejoiced 
the eyes of the angels. " Hcce nunc benedicite Dominum 
omnes servi Domini. . . . In noctihus extollite manus 
vestras in sancta et ienedicite Dominum : Praise the 
Lord, ye children; praise ye the name of the Lord. 
. . . From the rising of the sun unto the going 


down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of 

Thus the rapid hours flew by, and when the joyful 
peals of silvery bells rang out simultaneously from the 
Parish Church and the Basilica, announcing the morning 
of the great Feast, one of the priests said to the other : 
" How quickly the night has gone ! " 

When we think and talk of the things of eternity, we 
no longer feel the weight or the march of time : it is 
annihilated by the immensity of our subject. 

And now was heard the jingling of the harness bells 
of two horses rapidly trotting down the street, and 
the carriage that had been ordered the previous night 
stopped at the door. 

" We must start ! " said the Abb^ de Musy. " The 
Curd of Lourdes is celebrating Mass, and his Memento 
is for us. I wonder what this day wiU. bring ! " 

And if, at that same hour, across hills and valleys, 
mountains and rivers, tufted forests and boundless 
plains, the eye could have penetrated into the silent 
chapel of a Ch§,teau in the neighbourhood of Autun, 
it would have perceived, by the light of the rising sun, 
a woman with white hair, a mother, prostrate before 
Clod, trembling with hope and expectation, and mur- 
muring also : " What will this day bring ! " 


The hearts and thoughts of the inhabitants of Digoine 
were turned towards Lourdes. How fervently they 
followed the noveno of prayers ! with what avidity 
they read the daily letters of the Abbd Antoine, giving 
them news of the dear absent one ! 


If Faith -were banished from every other earthly 
refuge, it would still be found in the heart of a mother. 
Madame de Musy had no doubts. 

" Yes," she had said to Genevieve, from the first day, 
with a tone of certainty that admitted no objection, 
" yes, my daughter, he will be miraculously cured, and 
we shall see it with our eyes." 

And with every moment that passed, her boundless 
faith increased, admirable indeed in principle, but as 
terrifying in reality as the joyous balancing of a child 
playing over a precipice. . . . What would happen 
if the branch broke or the cord gave way ? Still her 
faith had assumed such proportions, that in the inti- 
macy of family conversation she had come to speak 
of her son's cure as of an accomplished fact. And 
yet, there was in her mind a strange mixture of hap- 
piness and alarm. It seemed to her that the cure 
so ardently desired would be the signal of a fatal 
separation, the entrance of her son into a new world 
where she would not be able to follow him. She 
thought of the mysterious words of our Lord, newly 
risen from the tomb, to Magdalen when she drew near : 
" Noli me tangere ! Touch me not ! " That was not like 
the old times ! 

" What a marvellous thing ! " she would often say ; 
" it will be like a resurrection for him. ... I shall 
tremble to speak to him, and I shall not dare to treat 
him as I used to." 

" But, mother, that would pain him." . . . 

" Only think of the transformation we shall find in 
him. God will have created him afresh. He will have 
renewed his bones and moulded his flesh, as He did 


when He made Adam of the dust of the earth. Like 
Moses when he came back from Mount Horeb, his 
brow will reflect the glory of the Holy of Holies. 
... I shall be afraid to look at him ; only to think 
of it makes my knees bend under me." 

Thus was her radiant hope sometimes dimmed by a 
shade of melancholy, as the pure surface of a summer 
sky is now and then crossed by a light, fleecy cloud. 

"He will be the son of the Blessed Virgin," she 
would say dreamily; "but will he still be mine as 
well ? " 

The light clouds, however, melted quickly away in 
the tranquil serenity of the atmosphere, and naught else 
troubled the firmament of her happiness. 

On the 14th of August, the vigil of the Assumption, 
she said : " And he is really going to be cured ! What 
joy ! My poor boy, he has well-earned such a reward ! 
Such virtue ! Such patience ! Not one complaint in 
twenty-two years ! " 

" Oh, mother ! " cried Genevieve in vague terror, " do 
not count too much upon it. Suppose he came back 
from Lourdes without having been cured ! " 

Madame de Musy pressed her daughter's arm, and in 
a low, broken voice, and with an accent that moved her 
profoundly, replied : — 

" I am sure he will be cured ! To-morrow ! To- 
morrow will be the sixth day. ... I shall receive 
a telegram from Lourdes. He will be cured to-morrow 

" And her eyes," relates Mile. Genevieve, " had an ex- 
pression of celestial rapture. I was fully persuaded 
that the telegram she had announced, and to which she 


was looking forward with such positive certainty, would 
find her quite prepared." 

Alas ! Providence, in its impenetrable designs, dis- 
posed events quite otherwise to what was expected! 
That night, the eve of the Feast, an old friend of the 
family, the Abbe Bourbonne, Chaplain of the Visitation 
at Paris, arrived at the Chateau of Digoine. 

After an agitated night, void of sleep, and filled with 
prayer, Madame de Musy rose before daybreak. 

" It is the Assumption ! " she thought, " the triumph 
of a Mother, of the Mother of mothers, the Mother of 
Jesus Christ. . . . After having held in her arms 
on Calvary the lifeless body of her Son, this is the day 
on which she possessed Him anew and for ever, in all 
the plenitude of His life both human and divine, reign- 
ing over heaven and earth. And that, after first seeing 
Him rise from the dead here, in this world ! God 
of goodness, is it really true that, all unworthy as I am, 
I am going to experience something of a similar 
felicity ! " 

Thus did her thoughts rise to heaven. Certain words 
surprised on her lips the preceding day, raised a sus- 
picion that she had offered her life in exchange for her 
son's. Touching and redoubtable reversion ! 

When she went down to the chapel, she found the 
Abbd Bourbonne there, come like herself, to pray. 

She confessed before the communion of the day, for 
she felt herself on the verge of a crushing happiness, 
and wished to be fortified by a renewal of strength 
from heaven, that she might the better bear up against 
her great earthly joy. Then she went and knocked at 
the doors of her husband's, her son's, her daughter's, and 


her grand-children's rooms; she desired that from the 
first dawn of the Feast they might invoke the Heavenly 
Father for the beloved absent one, present, nevertheless, 
in all their hearts. 

" Come to prayers ! Come to prayers ! " 

She called them to prayers for the special work she 
desired to see accomplished, as one is called to work 
for the ordinary labours of life. 

The Abb^ Bourbonne went up into the pulpit of the 
parish church, and asked the congregation to pray for 
the sick priest, the father of the poor, who had gone to 
seek his cure in the region of Miracles. The peasants 
knelt with tears in their eyes, and recited : " Our 
Father," and " Hail Mary," in favour of him who was 
called in all the country-side, " the good Monsieur 
Victor," and whom some among them, alarmed by his 
long, painful journey, feared they would never see again. 

Madame de Musy was at her window every minute, 
looking along the road that leads to Epinac, where, 
about ten kilometres from the Chateau, the telegraph 
office was situated. But the hours went by and nothing 

Let us go back to the Abb6 de Musy. 

Notwithstanding the early hour, the upper part of 
the church was filled with the Faithful, come to share 
in the celebration of the great Feast of the Assumption. 
The two priests went to the Crypt where there were 
but few persons, amongst whom, however, poor little 
Pierre and his father occupied their usual places. 

The high altar, dedicated to the Virgin, was disen- 
gaged. So after rolling the invalid chair with its help- 
less occupant, by the side of little Pierre, the Abbd 


Antoine, as he had done every day, but with a firmer 
and more ardent hope, celebrated Holy Mass for the 
intentions of his benefactor and friend. At the com- 
munion he carried to him the body of the Lord, and 
little Pierre, laid in his father's arms, was presented 
before the Holy Table and also received the Bread of 

Mass was ended. Notwithstanding so many fervent 
invocations, and so many promising presentiments, 
nothing of what had been asked for and expected had 
taken place. Neither of the invalids was cured nor 
even relieved. The Queen of Heaven seemed deaf to 
their supplications. 

The Abbe Antoine tried to be resigned, and reflected 
with great reason that, of its proper nature, a miracle is 
an exceptional event even at Lourdes, and that God and 
His Most Holy Mother are not less merciful in refusing 
it than in according it, from time to time, to the prayers 
of the faithful. His afflicted heart found in this Chris- 
tian philosophy the consolation he really needed. 

As to the two companions of misfortune whom faith 
had brought together in that blessed place, they had 
communicated and left far behind them all personal 
preoccupations. Completely absorbed and ravished by 
the reception of the Divine Guest, they had almost 
forgotten their previous hopes, and the bitter feeling of 
disappointment had no place in their hearts. They 
heard another Mass of thanksgiving, and when it was 
ended, the father of little Pierre took his child in his 
arms to go and bathe him in the Piscina. 

" Pierre," said the Abb^ de Musy, " do not wait for 
me this morning at the Piscina. I shall stay for the 



third Mass which is just about to begin." And he again 
absorbed himself in his meditations. 


Lourdes, like Eome, is the rendezvous of the whole 
universe. There one makes new acquaintances and 
finds old friends. There, in the supernatural order, is 
manifested the Miracle ; in the natural order of things, 
the Unforeseen is permanent. 

By a singular juncture, the priest who celebrated that 
third Mass was the former professor of M. de Musy, at 
the seminary of St. Sulpice — the AhM Dominique Sire, 
who had arrived at Lourdes either the same morning or 
the evening before. 

" On that day," he told us, " I did not offer the Holy 
Sacrifice for myself nor for any person that I had chosen. 
Without naming anyone, I offered it for the maternal in- 
tentions of the Blessed Virgin, imploring the Queen of 
Heaven to apply the merit of it to whomsoever she 

The Abb^ Antoine served that Mass. 

M. de Musy had not recognised, in the priest who 
had just mounted the steps of the sanctuary, his beloved 
master of former times. Seated in his invalid chair, he 
meditated on the different texts that fell on his ear, in 
the clear, distinct voice of the officiating priest. He 
listened attentively to the reading of the Gospel, of 
which the last words were those once uttered by the 
Lord to His zealous hostess, and destined in succeeding 
ages to calm all the anxieties of this fleeting hfe. 

" Martha ! Martha ! Sollicita es et turharis erga 
plurima. Porro unum est necessarium : Maria optimam 


partem elegit quae, non awferetur ah ea. Martha ! Martlia ! 
thou art careful and troubled about many things. But 
one thing is necessary : Mary hath chosen the best part 
which shall not be taken away from her." * 

"What!" he thought, "I have Mary's part, and I 
grieve not to have Martha's ? I am a Christian, con- 
secrated to God ; I can enjoy, every day, the privilege of 
communion with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, 
and yet I can wish for anything more ! " 

At the altar there was sUence. The priest was read- 
ing the secret prayers which ran thus : " Subveniat, 
Domini, plebi tuce Dei genitricis oratio : guce etsi pro con- 
ditione carnis migrasse, cognoscimus, in ccelesti gloria 
apud te pro nobis intercedere sentiamus." t " May the 
prayer of the Mother of God assist Thy people, Lord, 
thai we may eaperience her intercession for us in heavenly 
glory, whom we know to have passed out of this life to 
satisfy the condition of our mortality. Amen." 

Such was the invocation addressed at this moment 
to Heaven by the Catholic priest, in the name of the 
Church. And the august sacrifice drew on towards the 
incomprehensible marvel of the Consecration. 

Nothing remarkable seemed to have been accom- 
plished amongst the devout congregation praying beneath 
the vaulted roof of the Crypt. And yet, at the cry for 
help, raised towards the Virgin Mary, " that we may" 
said the holy liturgy, " experience her intercession for us 
in heavenly glory " — at this cry for help to the Mother 
of Jesus Christ, a voice which was not that of the 
deacon or the people, had responded, "Amen ! so be it ! " 

* Soman Missal, Gospel of the Mass for the Assumption. 
+ Secret of the Mass of the Assumption. 


A voice unheard by human ear but which, when it 
speaks, fills the infinity of heaven. 


The pilgrim of Digoine was seated behind the column 
that hid him from observation, and reposed in spirit in 
the bosom of the Almighty Father. 

The solemn words, " Sursum corda ! " pronounced 
aloud, recalled him to consciousness. 

What words can describe his feelings when, on 
recovering himself, he felt within his astonished and 
awe-stricken soul an absolute conviction that henceforth 
he could rise, stand upright, and walk. He had the 
tranquil assurance that his long-lost sight was restored, 
and that all the ills with which he had been afilicted for 
so many years, had disappeared at once and for ever. 

It was not that he had experienced any shock, or 
emotion, or inward flutter : nothing of that kind had dis- 
turbed him. He suddenly found himself in perfect 
health. The miraculous grace had penetrated his whole 
being without his perceiving it, exactly as light pene- 
trates into the room of a sleeping man. He falls asleep 
in darkness, and wakes in the broad light of day. Softly 
effacing the dark shades of night, the celestial rays have 
flooded his house without disturbing his slumbers. Thus 
the omnipotent and sovereign hand of Mary had removed 
all disease from the priest's blind eyes and useless feet, 
and had shed upon him the luminous effluvia of life, 
without disturbing his meditations or troubling his 
prayers. He was seized by a trembling emotion, a sort of 
terror ; he could not believe in such a complete change, 
such a radical transformation accomplished in him so 


suddenly and without his co-operation. On the one 
hand, he was tempted to rise ; on the other, he resisted 
the inclination ; he did not dare to move, he did not 
dare to prove the truth ; he did not dare to convince 
himself by any exterior act or movement, of the reality 
of the miracle. His heart believed, but his mind 
doubted, and doubt, that it might be all the more in- 
vincible, assumed the form of humility. 

" Yes, oh ! yes, the Blessed Virgin could cure me if 
she liked, but I am not worthy." He struggled against 
the secret impulsion which prompted him to move and 
rise. But to the inward feeling of his cure was added 
an outward and mysterious physical force, that seemed 
to seize his body and urge it forward; he struggled 
still, like Jacob with the angel. " Perhaps I am de- 
ceiving myself, perhaps it is all illusion, and I may fall 
down again if I attempt to rise ! I should be making 
a false miracle, and would not that be a sort of con- 
fusion for the Blessed Virgin ? A little later when 
I am alone." . . . The force, however, that per- 
suaded him became more and more urgent, without 
ceasing to be maternal. Eesistance was impossible ; 
the vanquished priest rose from his chair and fell on his 
knees like all the rest of the Faithful. 

At the same instant the bell of the Elevation was rung. 

To cure the minister of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin 
had chosen that moment of supreme mystery when 
Heaven descends to earth. While the Divine Son fol- 
lowed by the adoration of His Legions of Angels came 
down invisible on the altar, the Virgin Mary taking the 
paralytic priest by the hand, relieved him of his infirmity, 
healed him, and presented him to Christ the Eedeemer.^ 



When the Abh^ Antoine left the altar with the 
of&ciating priest to return to the sacristy, he perceived 
the Abb4 de Musy on his knees, motionless, with his 
head in his hands. The sight gave him a violent 
shock, but so much are the best of us disposed to 
doubt, that anxiety got the better of Faith, and his only 
fear was that his friend had been making some tre- 
mendous effort, and would sink and fall. Impelled by 
his apprehensions, he hurried to his side ready to help 
him at the first sign of weakness; but some time elapsed 
before M. de Musy moved, and when he did, he rose up 
without aid. 

His agitated and trembling friend precipitately pushed 
forward the invalid chair that the paralytic might sit 
down. But the paralytic refused by a motion of the 
hand, and said : " The Blessed Virgin has cured me " ; 
then with a firm, calm step he. turned to leave the 

The Abbe Antoine was stricken speechless, and his 
step was neither firm nor calm. Never in his life had 
he known his benefactor otherwise than infirm. The 
perspiration streamed down his face as he followed M. 
de Musy, pushing before him, in his bewilderment, the 
henceforth useless invalid chair, as if he thought that 
the sight before him was an illusion which would 
suddenly vanish. The coachman seated on the box of 
his carriage was waiting for them ; when he perceived 
the Abb6 Antoine he got down to help him carry his 
companion, but surprised at the empty chair, he said : 

" Where is your invalid ? " 


" I am here," replied the priest of majestic and im- 
posing stature, who arrived at the carriage door at the 
same time as the Abbd Antoine. " The Blessed Virgin 
has cured me, and the carriage is not wanted ; we will 
walk to the Grotto." 

The astounded coachman turned his eyes towards the 
person who spoke, and recognised in him, as he stood 
full of health, life, and vigour, the helpless and para- 
lysed priest of a little while ago. The words died away 
on his lips, he felt as if he were dreaming, and looked at 
the Abb^ Antoine in complete amazement. Then he 
took the invalid chair and put it in the carriage. 

At the church-door the two priests fell into each 
other's arms and wept. 

" Mon fire, mon pere ! you are cured ! " . . . 

" I believe I am, mon fils," replied the Abb^ de Musy. 

These were the only words exchanged. There- are 
certain emotions of the heart which can only be ex- 
pressed from man to man by tears, and from man to 
God by prayer. So they went down the road praying 
and reciting the Eosary : Ave Maria, gratia plena. 


They reached the Grotto about nine o'clock. The 
crowd thronged around the sacred rocks, old men, young 
men, women, believers of all ages, in the silence of in- 
dividual prayer and the stillness of meditation. Some 
on their knees, others drinking at the miraculous spring, 
or saying the rosary, or reading their prayer-book, or 
standing in groups on the banks of the Gave talking in 
low voices. A little behind the rest a tall man with 


marked features, whose commanding height raised him 
above all the bent heads, contemplated, with the melan- 
choly smile of mournful incredulity, that multitude 
kneeling before vacuum and adoring nothing. 

Such was the spectacle which greeted the arrival of 
our friends. They went through the crowd heedless of 
the passage of the two priests, and entered the Grotto 
where M. de Musy knelt on one of the chairs usually to 
be found there. 

But suddenly, to the calm silence and devout prayer 
of these human masses, succeeds a whisper ever in- 
creasing, a growing murmur, a profound rumour, an 
agitated clamour. In one of the ecclesiastics who have 
just entered the Grotto, some amongst the crowd think 
they have recognised the infirm priest whom they have 
remarked for the last week, sitting or rather lying in 
his invalid chair, and being pushed along by his friend. 
Everyone gets up to look and see. The eager crowd 
rushes forward towards the Grotto ; and the Brother 
who guards it promptly shuts and double-locks the iron 
gate. A cross-fire of exclamations is heard. 

" Is it he ? " 

" Is he cured ? " 

" What was the matter with him ? " 

" Where is he ? " 

" It is a miracle ! " 

" Is it possible ! " 

" Hail, Mary ! " 

" It is some other priest ! " 

But suddenly, as if at a sovereign command, all the 
tumult was appeased and succeeded by a breathless 
silence. Behind the gate of the Grotto, the restored 


man had risen, and turning his noble head, all illumi- 
nated with the reflection of the miracle, towards the 
multitude, he made them a sign that he wished to 

" Yes, my dear brethren, it is I. I whom, ever since 
my arrival, you have seen here with my body paralysed 
and my sight gone. I am a priest of the diocese of 
Autun. I have not been able to read for twenty years, 
and for eleven years I have been totally paralysed and 
unable to ascend to the altar to celebrate the only Mass 
that I knew by heart. Our Lady of Lourdes has restored 
my health and my sight ! , . . Ah ! may this great 
miracle improve the good and convert the unbelieving. 
Help me to thank God and obtain of Him grace to be 
a good priest." 

Instantly the chant of the Magnificat broke forth, and 
all the people glorified the Lord. 

After hearing the account of the miracle they wished 
to prove it. 

" Walk about ! walk about ! " cried the crowd, and 
the paralytic began walking. 

"Bead! read!" 

They placed before his eyes a book in very small 
print, and he, who for twenty years had not even been 
able to distinguish the big characters of the Missal, now 
read fluently and without the least hesitation. 

" Your signature ! Your signature ! ... on this 
book . , . this engraving . . . this paper ! " . . . 

And hundreds of hands passing through the railings, 
presented to the Abbe de Musy, prayer-books. Imita- 
tions, little religious pictures, visiting cards, etc. He 
traced numberless signatures with a pencil and in a 


firm clear hand, on the numberless leaves that poured 
in on every side. 


All of a sudden a man, a workman, breathless 
with running, was seen forcing his way through the 
crowd. His rough, honest face was working with the 
most magnificent emotion, the gate' of the Grotto 
opened before him, and he threw himself, weeping 
tears of joy, into the arms of the Abb4 de Musy. It 
was the father of little Pierre. 

" And little Pierre ? Is he cured also ? " asked the 
priest in a voice full of anxiety. 

" No, Monsieur I'AbM, such has not yet been the will 
of God." 

The priest made a movement of mournful commisera- 
tion. He was almost ready to accuse Heaven for not 
acting differently. 

" And I ! " said he, almost sadly, " the Blessed Virgin 
has granted me this' immense grace !" 

The workman understood M. de Musy's secret feeling 
by the tone of his voice. 

" Ah ! Monsieur I'AhM" he replied, " what the Blessed 
Virgin does she does well ! And, indeed, I feel nothing 
but gladness." 

In truth, there was no sign of pain or regret in his 
features, nothing of that envy that so often gnaws the 
heart at the sight of another's felicity ; no murmuring 
against the inequality of our destiny in this world ; and 
yet for three years running, the poor father had come 
every year to Lourdes to pray for the recovery of his 


" And where is little Pierre ? " 

" He is over yonder, in a little corner away from the 
crowd. When we heard the Magnificat he trembled for 
joy. ' Father,' he said, ' it is our friend who is cured ; 
run and see him, run and see him ! ' and I ran as hard 
as I could. Now I shall go back to him to confirm the 

" No ! no ! I will go myself ! " 

They left the Grotto together. The crowd fell back, 
its mass broke up and formed a living hedge for the 
passage of the man miraculously cured. 

There was a carriage waiting on the borders of the 
crowd, and in it an invalid chair. The Abb4 Antoine 
made a sign to the coachman, and immediately the chair 
passed from hand to hand over the heads of the multi- 
tude, to be deposited in the Grotto in memory of the 
miraculous event. The Abb^ de Musy crossed the 
triumphant ex-voto on his way, and his eyes that had 
wept so much, were wet with fresh tears at the sight of 
the visible remembrance of his bygone sufferings — suf- 
ferings that by some strange moral illusion seemed 
already so far away. 

Before the Piscina he found the angelic little Pierre 
stretched iu the rustic little wooden carriage that served 
him for an invalid chair. He went up to him and 
pressed him in his arms. " Ah ! my dear chUd ! " he 
cried, " how I wish Our Lady of Lourdes had granted 
you the same grace as me ! " 

But little Pierre raised to the Abbe's face his large 
limpid eyes brilliant with celestial joy, and answered 
as his father had done : 

"The Blessed Virgin knows what is best for me. 


There are so many boys of my age who offend God and 
blaspheme against Him. If I had my health, perhaps 
I should do the same. Now I do not offend Him, I love 
Him with all my heart, I receive Him in Holy Com- 
munion and I am happy. I would much rath«r keep 
my illness and not offend God, than have -my health 
if I were to take advantage of it and become wicked. 
What the Blessed Virgin does, she does well ! " 

And once more holding out to the Abbd de Musy his 
innocent arms, as if to console him for the shade of 
sadness that hung on his brow, he tenderly embraced 

That child was scarcely fifteen — and he was the son 
of a poor village shoemaker ! . . . 

Is it possible, at such sights, Almighty God, not to 
turn towards You our grateful souls, and not to repeat, 
prostrate before You, the words addressed to You by 
our Lord Jesus Christ : — " Father, Lord of Heaven 
and earth, I thank Thee because Thou hast hid these 
things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed 
them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed 
good in Thy sight." 


The Abbd de Musy now bent his steps towards the 
house of the missionaries, whither he went to give an 
account of his cure. The crowd, never tired of seeing 
him, continued to follow wherever he went. He climbed 
the hill rapidly and without any limping, or fatigue, and 
as soon as he had made his declaration to the guardians 
of the. sanctuary, he turned towards his companion, 


thinking only of those who were so far from him in 
person, but so near to him in heart. 

" Make haste to the telegraph office ! What joy for 
my mother, my good father, and all of them. And go 
yourself and tell the news to the Cur^ of Lourdes. My 
first visit will be for him." 

After partaking of some refreshments that were 
offered to him, the Abb4 de Musy returned again to the 

It was about one o'clock. All the masses were 
finished, and everyone was gone back into the town for 
the mid-day meal, so that the nave was perfectly empty, 
for which the Abbd de Musy thanked God. He had 
exhausted his strength in the scenes of the morning, and 
felt the necessity of renewing it ; he had belonged to 
the crowd, and now he wanted to collect himself. And 
here, in the very centre of so much life and movement, 
so much outside agitation, he had, to his great joy, found 
a profound retreat, an absolute silence, a refreshing 
peace, that special and peculiar peace that dwells only 
at the foot of the altar and beneath the vaulted roof of 
the church. He was alone, alone with God. He could 
kneel down without a thousand eyes watching his every 
movement; he could weep without everyone seeing 
his tears ; he could in the intimate union of prayer, 
pour forth his soul before the Lord, and before the 
Blessed Virgin, without being disturbed every instant 
by the innocent selfishness of indiscreet piety whisper- 
ing in his ear : '' Pray for me ". 

He went through the silent arches and knelt close to 
the sanctuary ; and there, before the Tabernacle, all his 
life of suffering, suddenly transformed into a life of 


health and strength, came back to his memory. The 
prediction of the Cur^ of Ars, his conversations with 
M. de Montagu, the gift of the Standard of the Sacred 
Heart, the pilgrimage to Paray, the presentiment of the 
priest of Marseilles, the almost violent persistence of 
Mme. de Pomey, the beggar's dream, and the words of 
the Cur^ of Lourdes, seemed to him like so many 
luminous landmarks on the road, that had led him to 
his miraculous cure. And on each one of these land- 
marks was engraved the name of the Lord. 

The thought of his mother was foremost in his mind ; 
he attributed to the sanctity of that virtuous woman 
the prodigious grace he had just received. As when, 
speaking of the tears shed by Saint Monica, Saint 
Ambrose cried : " The son of so many tears cannot 
perish " ; so he in his heart exclaimed : " The son of 
so many prayers was bound to be cured ! " He felt 
that the will of God had been to keep him infirm for 
such a number of years, that he might remain near her 
and be strengthened more and more in the virtues of 
the priest by the admirable and incessant example 
of her great soul, all inflamed with the love of Jesus 

" Three times she has given me life," he thought: " once 
my natural life, by my birth, accomplished in pain and 
suffering, then the sacerdotal life of my vocation, of 
which she planted the germs in my soul, and now the 
miraculous life of my cure, which she has obtained for 
me by her fervent prayers. Mother ! my Mother ! " 
. . . And this cry of gratitude rising from his heart, 
included in one and the' same fihal sentiment, the 
earthly mother who had borne him, and the universal 


Mother who pours forth her benefits from the heights 
of Heaven. 

What should he do with this new life ? . . . He 
had been ordained priest for thirteen years, and he had 
never yet been able to exercise any active ministry. 
Should he be a Eeligious, a Missionary, a Monk, or a 
parish Priest ? . . . How great need he had of 
light from on high ! . . . Then contemplating the 
Tabernacle, as the Hebrews on leaving the desert must 
have looked at the Promised Land, " It is there," he 
said to himself, " that I wiH ask the graces I so much 
require, when, to-morrow, after so long an interruption, 
I offer once more the Sacred Victim. To-morrow is 
Saturday, the day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, — and 
it is the 16th of August, the feast of my mother's 
patron Saint." 

The afternoon was advancing, however, and the chapel 
began to fill. The Abb^ de Musy returned to Lourdes, 
where the news of the miracle was already noised 
abroad. As he reached the town, vespers were being 
celebrated at the parish church, and the Cur4 Peyramale 
was relating to his people the great event of the morning. 

Who shall tell with what fervour the faithful servant 
of Our Lady of Lourdes pressed the Abb^ de Musy in 
his arms, when, immediately after the service, the latter 
came to see him. 

" Well, I do not think you will quarrel with the 
Blessed Virgin now ? " cried the Abb6 Antoine, gaily. 

"I was already reconciled!" replied the deep but 
joyful voice of the Priest of the Apparitions. 

" To-morrow I shall celebrate my second First Mass," 
said the Abb^ de Musy. 


" And I -will be your chorister-boy ! " cried the 
Cur4 of Lourdes. But an unforeseen obstacle presented 

Eleven years had gone by since the Abb6 de Musy 
had last consecrated the Body of the Lord, and when he 
tried, with the Missal in his hand, to see how far his 
memory would serve him, he perceived that he had for- 
gotten the strict letter and minute detail of the cere- 
monies of the Holy Sacrifice, so that he was obliged to 
put off the celebration of Mass for a day, that he might 
learn the liturgy again in the meanwhile. 

The whole of Saturday was passed in the necessary 
study, under the direction of the Abb^ Antoine. The 
disciple taught the master. 

Towards evening a visitor, a tall man with marked 
features, presented himself. The Abb^ de Musy re- 
membered having noticed him the evening before, at 
the Grotto, where he had remarked his energetic head 
and his expression of mournful incredulity. 

" Monsieur I'AIM" said the stranger with emotion, 
" you are my benefa,ctor. Oh ! how much I thank you." 

" And for what, sir ? I do not know you." 

"It is to you I owe my return to the faith. My 
name is Emile Pellegrin ; I live at Luc in the depart- 
ment of Var. I was in a state of total unbelief, when 
■I arrived here a few days ago, in company with my 
sister. I saw you before your cure, drawn about in 
your invalid chair ; I saw you after it, and I heard you 
speak at the Grotto. I have no more to say. The 
hand that nothing can resist has passed over me, I have 
been to confession, a thing that has not happened to me 
since my childhood— that is for forty years — and I am 


come to ask you as a favour, to administer Holy Com- 
munion to me to-morrow.'' 

The minister of God opened his arms to the traveller 
who had come from so far, on his return to his true Home. 
He understood then that his cure was the beginning of 
an apostleship, and that God meant to use him as His 
instrument in bringing back to the light of truth many 
souls groping in darkness, many hearts that had lost 
their way. 

" Our Lady of Lourdes be praised ! " cried he. " The 
greatest grace has been for you ! Certainly I will ad- 
minister Holy Communion to you, and there will be joy 
in heaven over one sinner that doth penance, more than 
v/pon ninety-nine just who need not penance" 


Early the following morning, Sunday, the Cur4 Peyra- 
male knocked at the door. 

" I am come to fetch you," he said. " I will serve 
your Mass first ; then I will celebrate Mass myself, and 
after it will be the Abb6 Antoine's turn. Three priests 
and three Masses will not be too. many to return thanks 
to God and Our Lady of Lourdes for such a signal 
miracle ! " 

" I am ready," replied the Abb^ de Musy. 

" Let us start then. You need not take an amice," 
added the Cur^ of Lourdes, as he saw the Abb^ de 
Musy take from the table a square of folded linen. 
" There are always plenty at the sacristy of the chapel." 

" I have special reasons for wishing to use this one," 
replied the miraculously cured priest. 


That day was the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost. 

The Abb6 de Musy, arrayed in the sacred vestments, 
crossed the nave and reached the choir. On his right 
hand was the Cur4 Peyramale, whom he called his 
advocate with the Blessed Virgin, and on his left the 
Abb6 Antoine. A compact crowd filled the Crypt; the 
Abb^ Sire, M. Pellegrin, little Pierre and his father, 
were aU present on this great occasion. 

The celebrant pronounced the first words of the Holy 
Sacrifice : " Introiho ad altare Dei. I will go unto the 
altar of God." "Ad Deum qui Imtificat juverdwtem 
meam," responded, at the foot of the altar, the deep 
voice of the Cur^ Peyramale. 

Those who heard the immortal language of the 
Church, could not refrain from applying the mysterious 
meanings of the different readings and prayers of the 
day, to the extraordinary circumstances in which they 
found themselves at the moment. 

In the midst of that congregation, whose hearts 
joined with his in thanksgiving, the celebrant read : 
" God in his holy place ; God who maketh men of one 
mind to dwell in a house ".* . . . 

The first Oraison expressed with literal exactness the 
feelings of gratitude that overflowed the heart of the 
Abbd de Musy : " Omnipotens sempiterne Detis qui abun- 
dantia pietatis turn et merita swpplicum exeedis et vota ; 
effunde super nos misericordiam tuam ut dimittas, etc. : t 
Almighty, everlasting God, who, in the abundance of 
Thy loving kindness, dost exceed both the merits and 

* Mass of the llth Sunday after Pentecost, introit. 
t Mass of the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, 1st collect. 


desires of Thy suppliants ; pour down upon us Thy 
mercy that Thou mayest forgive," ete. . . . 

But when he had reached these words, the Abb6 de 
Musy could go no further; he stopped suddenly, his 
voice sank ; his eyes no longer distinguished the cha- 
racters of the Missal. . . . The Cur^ of Lourdes, 
secretly moved, but in appearance calm and impassible 
as a bronze statue, immediately ascended the steps of the 
altar, and standing beside the celebrant lent him the help 
of his eyes, and pronounced one by one the words of 
the liturgy which the Abbe de Musy repeated or rather 
stammered after him. The collects, the epistle and the 
gradual, were said in the same way. A mortal suspense 
filled every heart ! A subdued agitation prevailed in 
the devout assembly. Could it be possible that the 
cure was not maintained? Had that visible and mar- 
vellous grace suddenly disappeared ? Was the miracle 
nothing but a mirage ? 

Everyone knows that after the Credo, the officiating 
priest turns to the Faithful to salute them in the name 
of the Lord. " Dominus Vdbiscum.'' So having finished 
saying the creed, -the Abb4 de Musy turned towards the 
congregation ; all eyes beheld his face working with un- 
speakable emotion. His trembling lips, scarcely able to 
articulate, and his eyes suffused with sacred tears, ex- 
pressed the inward joy that filled his soul. At sight of 
him, a thriU of sublime intuition passed through the 
crowd, they comprehended then that his eyes had been 
blinded by tears of joy, and his voice extinguished by 
excess of happiness. The prisoner, set free, almost 
sank beneath the weight of his bliss. After that, the 
Holy Sacrifice was continued in gladness of heart. " I 


will extol Thee, Lord, for Thou hast upheld me; 
. . . Lord, I have cried to Thee and Thou hast 
healed me," said the Abbd de Musy, pronouncing the 
words of the Offertory.* 

The communion began. The first to receive the 
Bread of Life was the converted unbeliever ; after M. 
Pellegrin, came the lady miraculously cured on the 
14th of August; after her, the angelic little Pierre, 
and then the numerous Christians who filled the 
Crypt. The distribution of the communion lasted half- 
an-hour, the Abb4 Antoine all the time following the 
officiating priest, to wipe his streaming brow and his 
face bathed in tears. 

When he returned to the sacristy, the Abb^ de Musy 
was covered with perspiration, and in many places his 
clothes were wet through, so powerful had been the im- 
pression made on him by the celebration of his " second 
first Mass ". He took off the sacerdotal ornaments, and 
helped the Cur4 Peyramale, who was going to say Mass 
at the same altar, to put them on. The amice that had 
encircled his neck was quite wet ; but the three priests, 
profoundly absorbed in spiritual things, paid no atten- 
tion to that trifling material detail. Although there 
were other amices clean and white ready for use, that 
was the one the Cur4 of Lourdes put on his shoulders. 
The Abbd de Musy remarked it to him afterwards. 

" I did not notice that I gave you my amice all wet 
with perspiration." 

" What matter ! I was as much at ease in it as if it 

* .Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepiati me. . . . Domine 
clamavi ad te et sanasti me. — Mass of 11th Sunday after Pentecost. 


had been my own ; one would think it had been made 
for me." 

"Oh!" resumed the Abbd de Musy, "I only half 
regret my carelessness. That old piece of worn-out 
Hnen is a rehc ; it was the amice of the Cure of Ars." 
And to himself he thought that the Cur^ of Lourdes 
was the right man to wear it ; but he refrained from 
making the reflection aloud, for he knew it would pro- 
voke some stormy reply from a nature, at the same 
time, humble and abrupt. The Cur6 Peyramale never 
took compliments in good part, and looked askance on 
those who addressed them to him. 


While all these events were being accomplished at 
Lourdes, what had been passing at Digoine for the last 
two days ? 

As we have already related, Madame de Musy, with 
a confidence we have called terrifying) expected, for the 
Feast of the Assumption, a telegram informing her of 
the cure of her son. The morning, however, went by, 
without bringing the despatch ; the postman came with 
a letter from the Abbe Antoine, written two days pre- 
viously, speaking only of the general appearance of the 
pilgrimage, and the state, still unchanged, of the invalid. 
The long hours of the afternoon struck, one after the 
othier ; still no news. The least noise or the sound of 
a footfall, made Madame de Musy start up with joyful 
expectation ; not, alas ! to be realised. Nothing ! still 
nothing! Nevertheless, her peaceful faith remained 
long undisturbed, and her hope steady and unfailing. 


The sun disappeared from the horizon, evening came 
on, as unproductive as the day had been, and the 
shades of night enveloped the Chateau of Digoine. 

The premature closing of a telegraph office on the loth 
of August, at a station between Lourdes and Epinac, 
had been the cause of the delay of the telegram — sent 
off', as we know, immediately after the miracle. And 
some unknown incident, a wrong address, or the break- 
ing of a wire, hindered it unfortunately still more, and 
for a time absolutely beyond all reasonable limits. 

Nox nocet. Sleeplessness is fruitful in depressing 
thoughts ; the mind, like nature itself, assumes sombre 
shadows in the silent darkness, when the eyes are un- 
closed by slumber. On the morrow, when Madame de 
Musy left her room, everyone remarked the shade of 
profound melancholy that hung over her. 
About eleven o'clock, the postman arrived as usual. 
The Abbd Antoine's daily letter was dated from the 
Thursday, vigil of the Assumption, and contained but a 
few unimportant lines. That day, the 16th of August, 
was Madame de Musy's saint's day. There is some- 
times, in families, a special and traditional saint, under 
whose patronage everyone is placed at their birth, no 
matter what their sex. Such was the case in the family 
of Costa de Beauregard. Madame de Musy, who came 
of that house, was called Armance Genevieve Marie 
Boch. And though the christian name by which she 
was known in her family was " Armance," her f^e was 
always celebrated on the day of Saint Eoch. 

On this particular occasion, the Archpriest of Couches- 
les-Mines and his curate were invited to dinner at mid- 
day. The mother had intended — we have already said 


with what unshaken faith — to honour Victor's mira- 
culous cure at the same time. Alas ! her hopes were 
fallen. What had seemed to her, up to that time, to be 
as certain as the word of God, was now only possible) 
and in many ways appeared improbable. Cruel doubt 
and painful uncertainty had replaced the calm assurance 
of her faith, as to the final result of her ceaseless 
prayer. She had been deceived by the inward voice 
she had thought infallible, and she knew not on what 
to fix her fallen hopes. Still she believed, and her 
hands nervously clasped at every instant, testified to 
the struggle she made to maintain that confiding faith 
to which the Lord has promised the recompense of 
miracles. But her efforts were fruitless: vainly she 
strove to recover what she had so fully possessed the 
day before. Yesterday she was on dry land, to-day she 
is struggling in the desolate anguish of a limitless sea, 
and she whispers the name of Jesus in the terror of 
her agony. " My God ! my God ! why hast Thou for- 
saken me ? " 

But accustomed to forget herself in her care for 
others, she made it a duty to entertain her guests, and 
remained in the drawing-room after dinner with M. de 
Musy, Humbert and Genevieve, in conversation with 
the Archpriest of Couches and his curate. Symphorien 
had gone out somewhere in the neighbourhood, Marie 
was walking in the park, and the Abbd Bourbonne was 
reading his Breviary in one of the avenues. 


About three o'clock. Mile. Genevieve went out and 
joined the Abb^ Bourbonne, to talk with him about her 


brother and the Grotto of Lourdes, -whither her thoughts 
were ever returning, for she dared not touch on the 
subject in the drawing-room before her mother. 

At the foot of the flight of steps that led into the 
avenue she perceived a woman, a stranger to Digoine, 
coming up the walk towards her. She went to meet 
her and inquire what she wanted. She had been sent 
by the telegraph office, and held a telegram in her hand. 
Genevieve's blood rushed to her heart, she felt every- 
thing turning around her. ■ She looked at the telegram. 
It came from Lourdes, and was addressed to Madame de 
Musy. . . . She went back to the Ch§,teau and on 
her way met the Abb^ Bourbonne. 

"This is, perhaps, to announce my brother's cure," 
said she trembling.. " It is the telegram my mother 
has been expecting for the last two days ! I must 
hasten in and take it to her." 

The Abb6 Bourbonne looked at the address, raised his 
eyes to heaven, and turned away to reflect and coUect 
his thoughts. 

Mile. Genevieve mounted the steps ; she trembled so 
that she could hardly walk. A terrible fear, the reaction 
of hope had come upon her, and she dreaded some bad 
news. " Up to the present," she thought, " no telegram 
has come to Digoine but to announce a death." Her 
step slackened ; she was strongly tempted to break the 
seal, but respect for her mother stayed her hand. " If 
it be really the miracle, no one must know it before she 
does. . . . Dear mother ! she has truly deserved 
that. But win she be able to bear the shock ? " . . . 
The most conflicting feelings were at work in her mind. 
At last she opened the hall door, then the drawing- 


room door, and mastering her voice by a great effort she 
said, " Mother, you are wanted ". 

It was the hour at which those of the poor who had 
not been able to come in the morning, were in the 
habit of presenting themselves at the house of the 
" Good Lady," who, like the Curd of Lourdes, had her 
" customers ". Madame de Musy thought it was one 
of her usual visitors. 

" I will come directly," she replied, not wishing to 
interrupt the conversation of one of her guests, and 
she was some few minutes before she appeared. During 
that time, Genevieve waited feverishly in the hall. She 
hid the blue envelope of the telegram in her sleeve, 
fearing the shock for her mother if she saw it too 
suddenly. . 

At last the drawing-room door opened and Madame 
de Musy came out. She was surprised to find her 
daughter alone in the hall. 

" Who is it wants me ? I see no one." 

" It is a woman. . . . She is in the kitchen." 

Saying which, Genevieve drew forward an easy chair. 
" Sit down a moment, mother." . . . 

" I, sit down ! " repeated Madame de Musy in astonish- 
ment, wondering what made her daughter look and 
speak so strangely. 

"Do, I beg you, dear mother!" she insisted im- 

" Why, what is the matter ? What is the matter ? " 
repeated Mme. de Musy, yielding to her daughter's 
solicitations and seating herself. 

" Here is a telegram for you from Lourdes." 

The mother seized it and held it convulsively pressed 


in her hands, but without breaking the seal. Breathless 
and almost speechless, she contrived, however, to pro- 
nounce the words : 

" It is Victor's cure ! merciful God ! What a 
grace ! He is cured ! He is cured ! " 

" Mother ! mother ! " cried Genevieve terrified, '' do, I 
implore you, open the telegram ! " 

Her trembling fingers could hardly tear open the en- 
velope. She looked at it, she read it, and by an extra- 
ordinary phenomenon her voice recovered its firmness. 

" Zourdes, 15th August. Praise to Mary ! M. de 
Musy was cured this morning at eight o'clock. — Antoine." 

She rose and returned to the drawing-room, holding 
the telegram in her hand. Her face was incomparably 
majestic, her regard was transfigured ; the most sublime 
chords of human nature, adoration, gratitude, maternal 
love, vibrated in the sound of her voice. 

" Victor is cured ! It is the deliverance of my son ! 
It is the triumph of the Mother of God ! ! ! " 

The father, speechless with happiness, made a gesture 
of thanksgiving to the Almighty, and silent tears flowed 
down the old man's cheeks. Frantic exclamations of 
rapture escaped from Humbert. The two priests were 
transfixed with amazement, and Marie, who had so often 
waited on and cheered her uncle, came running in, 
dancing for joy, as, in old times, David danced before 
the ark. The Abb6 Bourbonne came in also, and all 
hearts were united as one heart in gratitude and thanks- 

Madame de Musy had remained standing, but sud^ 
denly her face changed ; she became deadly white. 

" Mother, what is the matter ? " 


" Oh ! it is nothing, it is the joy," she said ; " my heart 
beats with rapture. . , . Oh ! how fast it beats. 
. . . What a grace ! After twenty years of suffering ! 
A whole life of infirmity. All those incurable evils 
to disappear at a word from Our Lady of Lourdes ! 
Let us thank God and the Blessed Virgin! On our 
knees ! " 

M. Humbert began the Magnificat. 

Madame de Musy desired to communicate the news 
to her servants herself. She kissed old Glaudine, the 
maids and the humbler servants, and then went to the 
gardener's cottage, crying : 

" My son is cured ! " 

Her heart so overflowed with joy, that she was bound 
to tell it, and talk of it, and spread it abroad. 

In the evening the chapel at Digoine could not con- 
tain the crowd that flocked to the Ch§,teau. The bene- 
ficent mercy of God was already known in all the 
countryside. The Abb^ Bourbonne lent the grand voice 
of the Church to the universal gratitude : — Te Deum 
laudamus ! Te Bominum confitemur ! 

On leaving the chapel, Madame de Musy was again 
seized with the sudden paleness she had had a few 
hours previously in the drawing-room, and again she 
repeated : 

" Oh ! it is nothing ! It is the joy . . . my heart 
beats with happiness. . . . It is nothing ! " 

It is nothing ! Ah ! poor mother ! Joy is some- 
thing, and it can, alas ! like sorrow, shatter our fragile 
nature. The heart that beats too fast, may one day 
break beneath the sudden weight of felicity. 

Madame de Musy had experienced the first attack of 


a disease which was, not in any immediate way, but 
after the lapse of a certain time, to open to her the 
gates of Heaven. 

The doctor, M. Bidault, was sent for. " Alas ! " said 
he, " she must pass the rest of her days in her arm-chair 
or her bed." 

" The day of the Assumption would have found me 
prepared," said Madame de Musy several times. " I was 
expecting the telegram. But the following day I had 
no longer any hope of it." 

She would not allow her son Victor to be informed of 
the effect his cure had had on her. 

" No," she said, " I will not have anything trouble his 
happiness and thanksgiving, at the feet of Our Lady of 


The Abb^ de Musy and his faithful Achates left the 
privileged town on Thursday the 21st of August, after 
saying goodbye to the Curd Peyramale, M. Pellegrin, 
the Abbe Sire, and little Pierre, the friends that they 
had, in some sort, received from the hands of Our Lady 
of Lourdes herself And though he was intensely 
anxious to return to the Chtteau of Digoine and its 
beloved inhabitants, it was not without torrents of tears 
that the restored paralytic tore himself from his last 
prayer, before the Eocks of Massabiella. 

He had chosen for the family chapel, as he said he 
would, the magnificent statue of Our Lady ai Lourdes, 
which had met his eyes on his first painful arrival in 
the house of the street of the Grotto. 


" Our Lady of Lourdes," said he, " shall henceforth 
be the Patroness of our house ! " 

The two pilgrims started at six o'clock in the morning, 
and travelled all day without stopping, tni they came to 
Cette, where they slept. We shall not stop to relate the 
amazement of the railway officials or the people at the 
hotel, when they recognised in the strong and vigorous 
priest, the helpless and infirm invalid whom they had 
seen carried about with so much difficulty a fortnight 
before ; nor the emotion of the Christian congregation 
of St. Joseph of Cette, when, during Mass, it got abroad 
among the people that the officiating priest was the 
man miraculously cured by the Blessed Virgin ; nor the 
trouble he had to escape from the town and withdraw 
himself from an ovation. Like him, we decline to loiter 
over the incidents of the journey ; like him we hasten 
to return to Digoine. 


On the Friday, M. Humbert de Musy, though more 
unwell than usual, and only able to move with the 
greatest difficulty, left Digoine in the evening and 
reached the station of Chagny a long time before the 
train was due. It seemed to him that he was about to 
wake up from some extraordinary dream, for notwith- 
standing the letters from Lourdes and the force of 
moral evidence, he felt himself, despite his efforts, a 
prey to the incredulity of the Apostle Thomas, rejecting 
all testimony. 

" To see him walk ! To see him walk ! Oh ! no, it is 
impossible ! . . . Most hkely when he sees me he 


will muster a little strength. . . . Oh ! if without 
his knowledge I could conceal myself somewhere and 
watch his movements ! " 

Acting on this thought he resolved to remain in the 
station-master's ofhce, and from some dark corner where 
he could see without being seen, to await the arrival 
of the travellers. 

At last he heard the distant rolling of the iron wheels 
on the rails, the beU rang, the porters rushed out on to 
the platform, the flaming lights of the engine came 
■rushing up in the darkness, and the train stopped before 
the brilliantly lighted station. 

M. Humbert's resolution was not proof against his 
feverish impatience. With a step, rapid in spite of his 
sufferings, he hurried on to the platform, but already, 
from the other end of the train, his brother's keen eyes 
had recognised him, and descending quickly from the 
carriage, the Abb^ de Musy ran up and clasped him in 
his arms. 

" Humbert ! " 

" Victor ! " 

And they embraced each other with tears of joy. 

" What joy ! Oh ! what joy to see you cured ! " 

" Oh ! my poor Humbert, how I wish it had been 
you ! » 

" No ! no ! certainly not ! God has well chosen, dear 
brother ! . . . Your life is a thousand times more 
valuable than mine ! Think of the good yOu will be 
able to do ! " 

" And father ? mother ? my sister ? your children ? 
How I long to see them all again. We will drive as fast 
as we can." 


" But, my dear Victor," said Humbert, " we could not 
reach Digoine before one in the morning." 

" Well, what does that matter ? " 

" Well, the fact is, mother is not very well." 

The Abbe de Musy started. 

" Do not be uneasy," resumed Humbert hastily, " she 
is a little upset by the news of your cure, and last night 
she slept badly. All she wants is a night of quiet and 
repose — which she could not have if- it were disturbed 
by our arrival, so we shall sleep here, at an hotel, and 
start to-morrow morning at daybreak." 

The Abb^ de Musy was completely reassured by these 


The next morning, as they drove through Couches- 
les-Mines, Doctor Bidault, who lived in the little town, 
and was waiting on the road to see the travellers pass, 
came up to congratulate his former patient, and asked 
for a seat in the carriage, wishing, he said, to share in 
the happiness of the family. . . . The reader has 
guessed that the old doctor was apprehensive* of the 
effect this second overwhelming joy might have on 
Madame de Musy, and that he was anxious to be pre- 
sent in case of an emergency. 

The carriage rolled rapidly along the road to Digoine. 
It was well-known in all the country about, and to-day 
the country people looked out for it with especial interest, 
for they knew the restored paralytic would be in it, he 
whom they called the " Good Monsieur Victor ! " When 
it passed them as they worked in their fields or their 
vineyards, and they caught sight of the radiant face of 


the priest, they threw up their arms and cried exult- 
ingly, " Long live Monsieur Victor ! " 

The Abb4 de Musy thanked them with his hand and 
his smile, and cried, " Yes, my friends, it is I ; and I am 
perfectly cured ! " 

However, the carriage did not stop; all understood 
how anxious the travellers were to reach home, and 
besides, M. Humbert had given orders that, under no 
circumstances were they to pull up, for fear of some 
imprudent word being dropped about Madame de Mus/s 
state. Besides, he wished his brother to have the full 
enjoyment of this universal gladness. 

The farmers and farm-servants had come out tomeet 
the carriage. Many of them, not quite sure when it 
would arrive, had waited on the road all night, and 
when at last it passed them, they knelt down in the 
dust, while the Abb4 de Musy, agreeable to their desire, 
blessed them with humble simplicity. 

Suddenly the severe profile of the Chlteau stood out 
from the horizon ; the dark walls, the high towers, the 
secular oaks. The Abb^ de Musy and the faithful com- 
panion 'of his pilgrimage burst into tears. " There is 
Digoine ! " They had come back to it at last, after 
their miraculous journey. 

There was a long silence. At a sign from M. Hum- 
bert, the coachman had slackened the speed of his 
horses, and as they drew nearer, the fagade of the 
Ch§,teau became more distinct. 

"What is the matter?" asked the Abb6 de Musy 
eagerly, " the shutters of mother's room are closed ! " . . . 

Humbert took his hand. 

" Dear Victor, mother is unwell, as I told you yester- 


day, but rather more so than I let you think. She 
keeps her bed, and the shutters are shut that she may 
hear no outside noises." Then he told his brother the 
whole truth. 

The son's recovery had been the cause of the mother's 
illness ! In the depths of her anguish the mother had 
been struck by joy as by a sword ; and now in the full 
exuberance of the purest joy, the son felt the keen 
edge of sorrow penetrate his soul. 0, mystery of Pro- 
vidence ! . . . 


When they reached the park gates, the Abb^ de Musy 
stopped the carriage and got oulJ; he wished to walk 
with uncovered head, up the shady avenue that his 
ancestors had planted, and by which he once more re- 
turned after such marvellous events, to the privileged 
domestic temple called Home. But he had already been 
•seen by those who were expecting him, and he had taken 
but a few steps, when his old father, his sister, his 
nephew, and his niece, came running out to meet him. 

Do you remember, reader, the touching scene, sketched 
by our Lord in the divine parable of the Prodigal Son ? 
The father, who, no doubt, often looked out on the road 
by which the ungrateful young man had disappeared, re- 
cognised his son in the distance, in the miserable wretch 
who approached with bent head, and tattered garments ; 
and running to meet him, he pressed him to his heart, 
and fell on his neck, and embraced him with tears of joy. 
In like manner, the old Count de Musy clasped Victor 
to his breast, but with feelings that had no blending of 
bitterness, and he also cried with tears of joy, "My 



son was lost, and is found ; lie was dead, and is come to 
life again ". But there was no need to go and fetch the 
best robe ! the Virgin Mary herself had taken care to 
clothe him in an incomparable robe, the robe of health 
and strength ; the robe of Life. The feet, once power- 
less, were now active, the eyes once in darkness, shone 
with life and light. Instead of going away in sin and 
returning in humiliation, like the prodigal, Victor had 
departed in suffering, heroically borne, in humble 
patience and supplication, and he had come back in 
glorious triumph. 

The father leant on his son's arm — the group had 
become a procession. Thrilling with inexpressible 
emotion, the conqueror crossed the threshold of the 
paternal Ch§,teau, and a hedge of servants thronged his 
passage ; all hearts turned towards him, but none 
dared to draw near or speak, or even kiss the hem of 
his garments. A religious respect restrains all outbursts ; 
and the son, healed of his infirmities, turned his steps, 
towards his mother's room. 


At the sound of his feet the door opened. 

Madame de Musy lay on her bed of pain. She was 
pale as death, but her face shone with celestial bKss as 
she held out her arms to her son, who hastened to her, 
and kissed her with his whole soul on his Hps, kneeling 
before the maternal couch as before the altar of sacrifice 
where the body of a saint reposes. 

'' My son," she said, in a voice of most harmonious 
sweetness ; " my son, you were already a chUd of Mary, 


to-day you are so more than ever. She will be your 
protectress, your force and your consolation. . . . 
Ah," she added, smiling, " I shall not be jealous of such 
a Mother as she is ! " 

The Abbe de Musy had risen and held his mother's 
hand in his. She was never tired of looking at him 
and contemplating in all the splendour of the new life 
he had brought back from Lourdes, her child of pre- 
dilection. As for him, his heart sank within him at the 
sight of his mother, and he asked himself with a feel- 
ing of vague terror, what was to be the price of the 
unparalleled grace he had received from heaven. She 
guessed his thoughts. 

" Do not be afraid, Victor ! Your recovery will give 
me Hfe." 

A subdued daylight filtered through the closed 
shutters and shed its rays over this incomparable scene, 
worthy to be immortalised by art, and well calculated 
to tempt the genius of some great painter. Around the 
sick mother and the miraculously healed son, the most 
varied physiognomies were assembled. The father, bent 
with age, and leaning on the foot of the bed, considered 
those two beloved ones, and shared at the same time 
and in all its sweetness, the sick mother's delight, and in 
all its bitterness, the mortal anguish of the restored 
priest. At his side, Humbert de Musy, with pain- 
racked body and radiant face, poured forth his soul in 
secret thanksgiving; Genevieve with clasped hands, 
bent like a reed beneath so many crushing emotions, 
and Symphorien and Marie seemed bewildered by joy, 
astonishment, and a feeling of the marvellous. Old 
Claudine stood beside her mistress ; she also was moved 


to the very depths of her being, but in no way disturbed 
by a sight that her faith accepted as quite natural. 
Behind, at the door, the men and maid-servants crowded 
round in a compact group, with their heads passing one 
above the other in their efforts to see. The Abb^ An- 
toine, the companion of the conqueror, was the secondary 
centre of all eyes and of a hundred silent questions. 
He replied to that discreet and sacred curiosity, by re- 
lating in detail all the history they were so anxious to 
know. He pictured to them the Cur^ Peyramale, little 
Pierre, and the Abbd Sire; the sudden cure in the 
Crypt, the magnificat in the Grotto, the conversion of 
the unbeliever, and the second First Mass. Listening to 
those episodes of the drama and beholding the issue of 
it all before him. Doctor Bidault stood petrified with 
amazement. He turned his eyes alternately on Vic- 
tor de Musy, and on the image of the Eedeemer hanging 
against the wall. ... He felt as if he should like 
to penetrate the secrets of God. In truth, there would 
be here an admirable subject for a picture ! 


Just then Claudine left the room in quest of something 
that was wanted. Immediately those who had remained 
in the ante-room rushed tumultuously round her, to hear 
from her lips all that had been said, and of which only 
a few unintelligible words had reached them. She, 
however, was so overcome by emotion that talking 
was quite out of the question, so, resuming the whole 
history in a concise manner, rare in her sex, and worthy 
of Csesar, she raised her bewildered hands to the ceiling. 


and uttered the three words : " He sees ! He stands 
upright ! He walks ! " 

During the whole day the Ch§,teau of Digoine was 
visited, one might almost say besieged, by the entire 
neighbourhood. Everyone wanted to see the man of 
the miracle, and the Abb4 Antoine was exhausted with 
answering the thousand and one questions that assailed 
him on every side. At M. Humbert's request, he wrote 
a hasty and summary relation of the supernatural event 
accomplished at Lourdes, and sent it to the more distant 
members of the family and to a few friends. It was 
afterwards communicated to the newspapers. 


On the 8th of December following, at the Feast of 
the Immaculate Conception, the Abb6 de Musy and his 
brother Humbert went to Lourdes on a pilgrimage of 
thanksgiving, and had a plate let into the stone floor of 
the Grotto in commemoration of the miraculous cure 
of the 15th of August. 

The text of the plate runs thus : — 

SuKGE ET Ambula (V. Luke 24), 

Victoe-Makib de Musy, peiest 

OF THE Diocese of Autun. 

CUEBD THE 15th AUGUST, 1873. 

Mgr. Lang^nieux, who had just been promoted to the 
bishopric of Tarbes, happened at that time to be at 
Lourdes, and wished to see the priest who, a few months 
before, had received such a signal grace. The prelate 
announced his intention of making a canonical inquiry, 


and began it at once by a series of questions to which 
the Abb^ de Musy had to reply in writing, after having 
sworn on his knees, and with his hand on the Holy 
Scriptures, to say nothing but the truth. 

The miraculously cured man was piously eager after 
everything connected with Our Lady of Lourdes, and the 
memorable event which, henceforth, was to change and 
fill his whole life. Like the rest of the pilgrims, he 
gathered one or two flowers from the close neighbour- 
hood of the sacred spot, flowers which had grown 
naturally, or been planted by the Cure Peyramale on 
the borders of the pathways, or the banks of the Gave. 
. . . And if we must own the truth, although the 
directors of the G-rotto had had put up before it in large 
print: It is forbidden to take anything away, it 
happened, so we are told, that one dark, cold December 
night, the two brothers succeeded in detaching (doubt- 
less under the auspices of the Penitent Thief) a few 
fragments from the Eocks of Massabiella. . . . 

They returned soon after to Digoine. 

It would be easy to terminate here the narrative of 
this long episode. But, unless we are greatly mistaken 
in the feelings of our readers, they would not willingly 
separate from the privileged priest, without hearing how 
he employed his resuscitated life, and also what be- 
came of the different persons whom, in the course of 
this history, they have learned to know and to love. 


Amidst so many joys and emotions, the Abbe de 
Musy kept fresh and warm in his heart the remem- 


brance of the companion in infirmity whom he had met 
at the Gfotto, the gentle and innocent little Pierre. As 
soon as he got back to Digoine, he wrote to the father 
to enq[uire after the angelic chUd. The young invalid's 
state was still the same, and his sufferings were cruel. 
Several months having passed since then, the Abbe de 
Musy became anxious and wrote again. This was the 
father's answer : — 

SiEOS, Z8th January, 1874- 

"MoNSiBiTK L'ABBfi. — You write to ask me for news of my dear 
child. He is no more. He breathed out his soul to God, the 21st of 
October, after having received the last sacraments. Before dying, he 
asked us to remember him, saying that, in his turn, he would not for- 
get us. 

"Since our return from Lourdes, his life was a real martyrdom. 
Some little time before his death,' he was taken with a swelling which 
gradually spread over his whole body, even to the chest. ' Father, ' he 
said to me, ' I cannot breathe '. The persons present at the time said : 
' He is going '. I did not think so, and it occurred to me to take some 
water of Our Lady of Lourdes, and rub his poor body with a sponge 
dipped into it. As soon as the miraculous water touched his skin the 
swelling disappeared, and the body and members resumed their natural 
proportions. But a little time after, it reappeared, and we repeated 
the remedy. Three times the swelling went down immediately on the 
application of the water of Lourdes, and three times it came back 
again. In this manner God manifested His will, for in showing us 
that He heard our prayers and could cure the child if He would, He 
clearly showed us also, that in not doing so He destined him to another 
and better life. And that is why. Monsieur I'Aibe, I write to tell you 
he is gone to Heaven. It was the Will of God : m'ay His Holy Name 
be praised ! 


In the course of these pages the reader has become 
acquainted with the intimate life and thoughts of a 
noble Christian family of one of the most illustrious 
houses of Burgundy. And here, in a village shoe- 
maker's little shop, we find sentiments that for sublimity 


of expression, are in every way equal to those of the 
patrician house. Thus does Eeligion, effacing the dif- 
ferences and discords of this world, raise the souls of 
the ignorant and the learned, the lowly and the high- 
born, to the same diapason, tuning them to the same 
celestial strain, and harmonising their accents in mag- 
nificent unison. The Magi and the Shepherds sing the 
same Mosanna ! 


The joy of the miracle had struck a fatal blow to the 
heart of Madame de Musy, but it pleased God to spare 
her some little time longer, that, in this life, she might 
have the consolation of beholding the dawn of her son's 
apostleship, and be able to watch the first steps of his 
new life, as in the distant days of the past she had 
watched over him at his birth. 

From every part of the diocese, the Abb^ de Musy 
was sent for, that he might relate before Christian 
congregations the amazing history of his cure. He was 
even called to Paris, where he spoke in the church of 
Ifotre JDame des Vidoires. His account of the marvel- 
lous event, and his minute analysis of the circumstances 
which had prepared and accompanied it, rendered mani- 
fest the intervention of a Divine Hand. Wherever he 
went his burning eloquence, witnessing to what had been 
so marvellously accomplished, penetrated the souls of 
his listeners, and wrought in them powerfully for their 
good. Human nature is more accessible to palpable 
facts than to speculative ideas ; to a simple narrative, 
forcible and true, than to a learned dissertation. Hence 
these great results. 


The Abb6 Antoine also preached in different churches, 
■with similar fruits of edification, the glory of Our Lady 
of Lourdes, and the miraculous cure of M. de Musy. 


The Abh6 Genty, chaplain of the Carmelites of Autun, 
had been Madame de Musy's confessor for many years. 
He was a most venerable priest, a man of fervent piety 
and great learning. His penitent was accustomed by 
long habit, to open her whole heart to him without 
reserve, and obtain the help of his advice and en- 
couragement in the incessant efforts she had made from 
her earliest youth to advance in the heavenly road of 
perfection. But it happened that M. Genty had been 
called by his bishop, Mgr. Perraud, to the functions of 
vicar-general of the diocese, and Madame de Musy, 
then ill and unable to leave Digoine, hesitated to call 
the excellent priest to her bedside, and thus disturb 
him in the midst of his numerous and overwhelming 
occupations. Therefore, discreet in that as in all else, 
she often deprived herself of the support and consolation 
her pious soul required. 

One day she wrote and asked him to come and see 
her, and sent the carriage to fetch him. When he 
arrived and was brought to her room, he found the 
Abbe de Musy there. 

"Father," she said, " I wished to consult you for the 
last time, on a new phase in my life as a Christian ; on 
an important act I am contemplating." 

The Abb^ de Musy rose to go ; she stopped him : 
" You can remain, I want you ". 


Her grave and solemn expression foreshadowed the 
accomplishment, on her part, of a resolution of an ex- 
ceptional kind. 

" Father," she continued, " in your own heart and 
before God, is it still your opinion and your decision, 
that, in the quality of his penitent, I may have confi- 
dence in my son, the Abbe Victor de Musy, as priest, 
confessor and director, and choose him henceforth as 
my spiritual father ? " 

" Yes," replied the priest, " and from this moment I 
confide to the son the conscience of his mother." 

Madame de Musy looked, with an expression of un- 
speakable emotion, on the chUd she had brought into 
the world and given to God. He had fallen sobbing on 
his knees. 

" My son," said she, " from this hour you will be my 
confessor ; it is with you I shall treat of the affairs of 
my eternal welfare. I shall be your spiritual child, and 
I will obey you as my spiritual father." 


A few revolving seasons passed thus in unbroken 
peace. Madame de Musy's disease remained stationary, 
and her family banished aU fear of a fatal issue. The 
Abbe de Musy pursued his apostolic missions, preaching, 
in the diocese and beyond it, the tidings of his mira- 
culous cure. Every time he returned to Digoine after 
one of these journeys, he gladdened his mother's heart 
with an account of the conversions obtained — ^his 
missions were harvests of which the rich sheaves were 
offered to God. And thus the days flowed happily 


Happiness, however, in this world is but a halt, only 
in heaven will it be our permanent state. Hardly has 
the pilgrim reposed himself an instant, and regained 
strength for the battle, in the delights of a fleeting joy, 
when the hour strikes that calls him back to labour and 
pain; pain and labour that must be accepted with 
thanksgiving, because they are the successive stepping- 
stones by which we gradually ascend to that Heavenly 
Father, Who leads us by the hidden and mysterious 
ways of His Providence, and waits to welcome us at 
the end of our journey. 

Priests were scarce in the diocese of Autun, and it 
was easily to be foreseen that the bishop might require 
the services of the Abb^ de Musy, in some fixed and 
regular post. His mother thought sadly sometimes of 
this probability, and hoped he would be called to the 
functions of chaplain in a convent, as that would leave 
him a certain leisure to devote to his own spiritual im- 
provement, and his love of study. He was so accus- 
tomed to a contemplative life, he had been for so many 
years imprisoned in disease and infirmity, as in a 
cloistered cell separating him from the world, that the 
thought of being called to the militant existence of a 
parochial charge filled him with dismay. The times 
were passed when the pastor of the flock, tranquilly 
seated at the foot of the Cross, and meditating the pages 
of his breviary, could guard his sheep in peace and 
almost without effort. Alas ! the faithful sheep were 
few, the lost sheep innumerable ; lambs had become 
rams ; wolves fell with impunity upon the sheep and 
the shepherd ; irreligion had corrupted the people, and 
hostile passions had gained even the authorities, the 


administrations, and the higher powers. It was not, let 
us hasten to add, the thought of fatigue and danger 
that made M. de Musy hesitate — his humility was 
alarmed, for he knew well, that with the best will in 
the world he lacked experience, and he would have con- 
sidered it temerity, after his long life of solitude, to rush 
presumptuously into practical difficulties for which 
nothing in the past had in any way prepared him, and 
over which the most zealous priests were not always 
triumphant. About this time nothing was talked of in 
the neighbourhood but the imperative circumstances 
that had obliged the cur6 of one of the most important 
towns of the diocese, the Cur^ of Chagny, to give up 
his parish and send in his resignation. 

The fact of the resignation of the Cur4 of Chagny 
had greatly impressed the Abb6 de Musy. Although 
he did not feel threatened, at the beginning of his active 
clerical career, with anything more important than a 
simple curacy or the charge of some modest village, he 
was nevertheless apprehensive, and thought with jus- 
tice, that he who has never handled an oar, may as 
easily wreck his bark against the trunk of a tree on 
some little pond, as on the reefs of a great ocean. 

Mgr. Perraud, Bishop of Autun, was acquainted with 
his state of mind and his humble views and desires. 


Towards the end of September, on 'Friday the 25th, 
the Abb6 de Musy was sent for to the bishop's palace. 
He came away agitated and almost upset by his inter- 
view with his lordship. "What had happened? A 


letter from the bishop, dated two days later, and ad- 
dressed to M. de Musy, wiU inform us. 

" Bishop's Palace, Aittun, B7th September, 187 4. 
" Cher Monsieur L'Abb:^, 

" I acquitted myself most conscientiously of the promise I made 
you on Friday. I submitted to the Council all the objections you had 
advanced, without in any way attenuating them, and although very 
much against my will, I constituted myself the advocate of your cause. 
But I lost it, and the members of the Episcopal Council, more capable 
than myself of judging the question, havS decided that the Abbe de 
Musy, whose filial obedience is known to them, must submit and bend 
his shoulders to the yoke. 

" We intend, therefore, to entrust to him the parish of Chagny,, 
and we shall take care that he be seconded by a good curate. 

" If I trouble you by insisting, my dear Abbe, you will, I hope, 
forgive me ; and Our Lady of Lourdes, I am confident, wUl justify the 
choice we have made. 

" Accept my sincere salutations in our Lord. 

" ^ AJDOLPHE-LOUIS, Bishop of Autun." 

The receipt of this letter aroused varied and conflict- 
ing feelings in the patriarchal family of Digoine. The 
father, who had perhaps feared that a convent chap- 
laincy might be for his son but the ante-room of the 
Cloister, hailed the episcopal decision with satisfaction, 
as also did Humbert, who saw, in this nomination to 
one of the most difficult posts in the diocese, a proof of 
high esteem for his brother's virtues and capabilities. 

But far different were the feelings that stirred in the 
hearts of Madame de Musy and Victor. At first they 
were both overwhelmed, the priest by the thought of his 
incapacity, the mother at the perspective of the separa- 
tion. The last fourteen months had been for Madame 
de Musy as the delicious oasis of her life. She had 
reposed herself fuUy in this anticipated beatitude ; she 


had, as it were, been lulled in the almost celestial de- 
light of her ideal existence with her resuscitated son, 
now become her confessor and her father. 

The valiant woman felt her strength failing an in- 
stant. It was but an instant— a few hours of inward 
combat and struggle, just long enough to conquer her- 
self — even at the price of death — and gain a fresh palm. 

The valiant Christian woman raised the courage of 

her son, despondent and overwhelmed with sorrow. 

' She had said to herself, and she repeated to him, the 

watchword of those true heroes the Saints and Martyrs, 

" It is God's will ! " 

" Yes, Victor, it is God's will. Our Lady of Lourdes 
did not cure you for repose, but for labour ; not for me 
nor for you, but for this people. It is she who sends 
you to them, and she will give you strength for the 

Thus spoke the mother, pouring out her very self into 
her son's heart. She had nourished him with her milk, 
now she strengthened him with her soul. 

Mile. Genevieve was away from Digoine at this time. 
And here we will quote a letter written to her by her 
brother the following week, showing, in all their limpid 
purity, the depths of these admirable natures. 

" Mt dbab Sister, — I have seen Monseiguetir again ; he was ex- 
tremely kind. I spoke to him about myself with a freedom and open- 
ness that set my heart at rest ; but he and his council are absolutely 
deterinined to place me at Chagny. 

"I clearly see that this nomination is the work of the Blessed 
Virgin, it would be impossible to doubt it. Our Good Mother in 
Heaven wishes to try my faith and my heart. I am hers to do what- 
ever she wishes. Be it humiliation or honour, peace or trouble, sorrow 
or joy, I am ready for all. Everyone expects great things from me in 


the way of sanctity ; the bishop, the parishioners, the fifteen cur& of 
my canton, the clergy of the diocese, and the civil administration. 
The Blessed Virgin leaves me in the middle of the current, she alone 
can bring me into port. I must have a blind and unlimited con- 
fidence in her. How fortunate for me, if, by confidence and trust in 
her, I succeed in doing all the good she expects from me. Our mother 
seems much pleased; father always delighted; Humbert is touched 
by this testimony of esteem. And you ? What do you think of this 
terrible afikir ? 

" Chagny is a parish of 4400 inhabitants. There is a very ugly 
church, a miserable presbytery, and hardly any garden. The post is 
painful and difficult. . . . Marie Immaculee has done me the 
very great honour of placing me in it in spite of my incapacity, and 
perhaps because of it. She will know how to manage, I am in her 
holy keeping. Adieu, dear Sister. " 


Two or three months were absorbed by the legal 
formalities that accompany the nomination of the cure 
of a canton, and it was only on the 17th of the follow- 
ing January, that the installation of the Abbd de Musy 
took place in the church of Chagny. 

The Abbe Gardette, Archpriest of Saint Vincent de 
Ch§,lon and Grand- Vicar of the palace, came to install 
him in the name of the Bishop, who was ill. He 
sketched in his discourse the portrait of the Catholic 
Pastor, the only true envoy of our Lord. 

The Abbe de Musy mounted, in his turn, the pulpit 
stairs. He knelt and prayed for a few moments and 
then turned his face towards the people, henceforth to 
be his family. 

" Just now," said he, " you heard a pious and learned 
priest describe what a true pastor should be, a Cur4 de 
Paroisse after God's own heart. In all sincerity, and 
with my whole soul, I have promised to try and be such 


a priest. I have promised it to our Lord and to His 
Divine Mother. I am here amongst you, and have, 
from this moment, the charge of your souls, contrary to 
all natural prevision. I have never exercised my holy 
calling. I have been ill for twenty years : I could not 
use my eyes. For eleven years I have been deprived 
of the privilege of saying Mass. For many years I had 
lost the use of the voice which now addresses you. I 
was resigned to my state, and neither hoped nor asked 
for my cure. But others asked it for me, and I was, as 
it were, constrained to pray for it myself. Our Lady of 
Lourdes deigned to procure a favourable answer to our 
prayers. I received that signal favour with unfeigned 
joy, and every day I thank our Good Mother for it. 
. . . But it was for you, my brethren, that it was 
granted me ; for you, who wiU possess, who do possess 
from this instant, my first and dearest affections. I give 
you myself and all that I have, my days and my nights, 
my watchings, my prayers, my health and strength 
recovered at Lourdes. For you I have left my family, 
my friends, and a ministry of missions that was . dear 
to me, and I have done it gladly. I will not look 
back to the past, or forward to the future, but only 
to the present; to the work to be done with your 
souls ; and for that aU-important work I count on 
the help of Mary, for I have, thank God, no confidence 
in myself. Our Lady of Lourdes must continue her 
miracle ; she alone, the Immaculate Virgin, will be the 
pastor of this parish. My first wish is that she may 
be venerated and beloved amongst you, as your Queen. 
Yes, dear brethren, you will offer her a filial devotion 
out of the fulness of your hearts, and she will complete, 


for the salvation of your souls, the work she began at 

"Every day I will pray to her for you. For you, 
old men, whose heads are whitened by age, and who are 
approaching the term of your pilgrimage, that she may 
prolong and bless the evening of your life, and finally 
assist you at that dread hour, when the doors of heaven 
will open before you. For you, men in the prime of 
Mfe, who bear the burden and heat of the day, and who 
often find so much trouble and difficulty in conducting 
the affairs of life, that she may help, enlighten and 
direct you. For you, young men, exposed to the storms 
and temptations of youth, that she may preserve you 
from all evil, and give you grace usefully to employ the 
powerful energies that animate you. For you, young 
women, that she may preserve you in innocence and 
fiU you with the love of the Lord. For you, little ones, . 
that, under her eye, you may grow like her Divine 
Son, in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men. 
For those gone astray, that she may lead them back to 
the right road; for the wicked, that she may make them 
good ; for the good, that they may become better. . . . 
And you, too, must pray to her for me, that she may 
give me something of her heart to love you more and 
more, and something of her power to serve you better 
and better." 

At these apostolic and paternal accents, the multitude 
who thronged the church shed tears. 

In the afternoon, a porter from the railway brought 
a parcel to the presbytery. He was one of the men 
who, eighteen months previously, on the night of the 
6th of August, had helped to transport from the carriage 



to the ■waiting-room, and from the waiting-room to the 
train, the helpless and powerless priest on his way 
to Lourdes in quest of a miracle. Kemembering all 
these details, and speaking of them to those around 
him, he could not take his eyes from that same priest, 
miraculously cured, and become by a special dispensa- 
tion of Providence, the cut6 of the very parish where, 
in his pilgrimage of hope, he had stopped on his first 
nocturnal halt, his first painful station. 

All Christian hearts in the parish of Chagny, and 
even many unbelieving ones, rejoiced that day. The 
installation of the Man of the Miracle, the burning 
words that had stirred up the noblest feelings of the 
heart, announced a promising future. 

During that radiant ceremony, the same expression 
was on all lips — the signs of a dawn without a cloud, 
. and of a joyful confidence. " This is the beginning of 
a good day ! " 

But earthly things are like the earth itself, that per- 
petually turns on its axis from light to darkness and 
from darkness to light. While the first rays of day 
were rising over Chagny, the melancholy shadows of 
the west were coming slowly down on the old Ch§,teau 
of Digoine. 


Not many days after the departure of her son to take 
possession of his cure, Madame de Musy felt the heart 
disease caused by the sudden joy of the miracle, become 
suddenly much worse. The happiness of the last few 
months had checked its course, but, alas ! had not cured 
it. 'New and alarming symptoms became apparent, and 


tlie doctors soon pronounced themselves powerless to 
check the progress of the disease. " She wiU not last 
many months " — was their verdict. 

The valiant woman descended the supreme path and 
followed the avenue leading to the tomb, with the 
sublime serenity of her everyday life. She had nothing 
to change and she changed nothing in the routine of her 
daily occupations. She continued to commune with 
God, by reading, meditation and prayer ; she continued 
to direct her household and acquit herself of her works 
of mercy ; she continued to help the poor and sick. The 
nature of her disease permitted her to be dressed and 
to sit in her easy chair. The only difference was that 
those to whom she used to go, now came to her. The 
poor and unhappy were brought by Claudine to the side 
of the dyiug woman. Two days before her death, for 
the last time, she dressed the wounds of Jesus Christ in 
the person of one of the poor of the neighbourhood. 
With her failing fingers she arranged the lint and ban- 
dages, and Mke a heroine of charity she expired on her 

Now and then her beloved son came to see her. What 
sweet yet bitter hours must they have passed together ! 

On the 7th of July, she sent to Chagny to fetch him. 

" Madame wishes to see you," said the servant. 

" Is she worse ? " 

" I do not know." 

The Abb6 de Musy hastened to her side. 

" My son," said she, " I must regulate aU my spiritual 
and temporal affairs to-day." 

Then she confessed to the son whom she had sent to 
Our Lady of Lourdes, so infirm, so worn with disease, 


and whom the Mother of God had sent back to her so 
strong and well. She submitted all her difficulties and 
anxieties to the wisdom and power of the priest, she 
poured forth her soul into his for the last time before 
leaving this world, and when a movement or an accent 
of his voice betrayed the emotion that suffocated him, 
interrupting herself, she would say softly, " Come, 
Victor, my dear Victor, a little courage ! " and then 
quietly continue her confession. 

" And now," she resumed, when she had received 
absolution, " we must put our temporal affairs in order 

So saying, she gave Victor the key of the secretary 
that he might look over the family papers under her 
superintendence and receive her instructions concerning 
them. Her memory was exact, her mind easy, her speech 
clear and precise, her countenance sometimes snuling. 
The rays of the lamp shone with their usual steady 
light. Her profound peace reassured her son, and 
though it could not remove his despondency, it gave a 
sovereign sweetness to the interview of that last day. 
Ifotwithstanding the opinion of the doctors, he began, 
in a vague manner, to hope again, for there are some 
realities that the heart refuses to accept. 

Madame de Musy gave him a sum of money to pay 
the journey of some poor sick person to Lourdes. 

" He will pray for me ! " she said. 

" For your recovery ! " added her son. 

She shook her head and repeated gravely : 

" He will pray for me there ! " . . . 

Some of the Abb6 de Musy's parishioners were dan- 
gerously ill, and their lives were doubly in danger, for 


the soul as well as for the body. For their sakes 
the Cure had to go back that night, that he might be 
able to return to Digoine the next day. But a little 
before he started, and as the lovely July sun was 
sinking in the west, Madame de Musy turned to him 
and said: 

" My son, the moment has .arrived to give me Ex- 
treme Unction ; I wish to receive it at your hands." 

" What ! mother ! " . , . 

" Come, my child ; a little more courage, the hour is 
come ! " 

He obeyed, and in the midst of the weepiag family 
performed the solemn ceremony, his mother herself guid- 
ing him, for he was cruelly moved and had some difficulty 
in restraining his emotion. He anointed with holy oil 
the maternal eyes, so often fixed in the course of her 
life on the image of Jesus Christ ; the ears, which, above 
the discordant noises of the earth, had listened to 
the sweet harmonies of heaven and the teachings of 
Holy Church ; the tongue, whose Christian words had 
spread so many truths and consoled so many sorrows ; 
the feet, that had known so well the road that led to 
the poor, and had so steadily walked in the straight 
path; the charitable hands, that had distributed so 
many alms and dressed the wounds of so many suffer- 
ing ones. He prepared for death her from whom he 
had received life ; he opened the tomb to her who once 
had laid him in his cradle. 

When aU was ended, she said to her son : 

" N"ow I am ready and all things are accomplished. 
. . . Go back to your parish, there are souls there 
who need you." 


But the priest, whose agitation was only equalled by 
his mother's calm, begged her to let him stay. 

" No," she said, " your duty is at Chagny with the 
dying. I am prepared." 

The Abb^ de Musy, broken-hearted, insisted: — "I 
pray you, mother, let me remain with you ! " 

" What ! Are you wanting ia courage ! " she said. 
" God is calling you yonder ! " 

And the valiant woman gave a farewell kiss to her 
beloved child. 

When he was gone, she drew the curtain from the 
window and remained watching till the carriage was 
out of sight and she could no longer hear the harness- 
bells. Then she burst into tears. Very soon after fever 
came on. All the night through she called for Victor. 
. . . Alas ! the next day, when Victor arrived, his 
beloved and venerated mother, stretched on the bed of 
death, slept her last sleep. 


More than six years have passed since her death. 
The Count de Musy and his son Humbert repose by 
the side of the admirable Christian woman, whose mild 
and noble character we have endeavoured to retrace in 
these pages. 

Symphorien de Musy, Humbert's son, lives in the 
Ch§,teau of Digoine. His sister Marie, now the Countess 
de Prunel^ often goes there with her family; and to 
follow the paths of virtue, they have but to walk in the 
way already traced out for them. 

Through the woods there is a road, shorter than the 


avenue, whicli used to bring into nearer and more direct 
communication the sick poor and their remedy, neces- 
sity and relief, the misery from without, and the charity 
from within. A post placed at the entrance of this 
path, hears the name given by the whole country-side 
to that privileged road — "The path of the Good Lady ". 

Our friend the Abbe Antoine, after having been pro- 
fessor in the Seminary of Autun, is Precentor at Chauf- 
faiUes, preparing others for Holy Orders as he himself 
was once prepared, and rendering a hundredfold to the 
Church the benefit he has received from her. 

Mile. Genevieve has built a little hoiise near her 
brother's presbjdiery, and helps him in all his good 

As he had announced to his parishioners, the Cure of 
Chagny has constituted Our Lady of Lourdes the Queen 
of his parish, and at all hours and in all circumstances, 
he seeks help from her. The throne on which he has 
placed her is similar to the one she chose for- herself at 
the foot of the Pyrenees. The Abb^ de Musy has 
erected in his church a reproduction of the Grotto of 
Massabiella, with the statue of Mary. Before the 
Grotto is an altar where he, who was for so many years 
paralytic and helpless, comes to ask his Deliverer: — 
" What do you wish me to do to-day ? " 

Employing his whole heart and mind and strength in 
the cultivation of the vineyard confided to his care by 
God, he works at the conversion of the present genera- 
tion, and devotes his fortune to preparing a better 
generation in the future. He has built immense schools 
at his own expense where hundreds of children are 
educated. He can be seen at those schools every day. 


Sometimes he goes to Digoine : every year he goes to 
Lourdes for the anniversary of his miraculous cure, and 
in this way, if he happens to experience any trouble in 
the present, he strengthens his soul by the contempla- 
tion of the future and the memory of the past. 

Les Brbtotjx, February, 188S. 


A jovial companion in his time was the journeyman 
joiner Franqois Macaiy. Always chatty and gay, and 
the foremost in fun and laughter. Mmble-footed and 
clever-handed, he had gone the round of France, to 
Nantes, Cambrai, Nimes, Marseilles and Lyons, and from 
being apprentice soon became master-joiner. A good 
workman and jovial companion, he was fond of work 
and did not despise pleasure. He was not troubled 
with many prejudices. Having completed his very 
complete course of philosophy by the reading of a few 
bad novels and worse newspapers, he promptly rid him- 
self of anything like superstition, threw belief to the 
winds, and thus disembarrassed of aU dead-weights, he 
travelled gaily along the road of life. 

As he thus rambled about the world, perfecting 
himself in his trade, his free-thinking became stiU 
freer. He did not encumber the churches with his 
presence, and his voice was not given to psalm-singing. 
Songs of another sort were more to his mind. When- 
ever one of the good women in the houses where he 
lodged, spoke to him about prayer, he would answer 
abruptly, " Working is praying ! " without ever stopping 


to think of the other reading of that truth, " Praying 
is working ! " 

In religion, as in everything else, his impetuous dis- 
position could accept neither lukewarnaness nor a just 
medium, it may therefore be supposed that he was not 
long in breaking down the frail barrier that separates 
indifference from hostility, and in becoming a declared 
enemy of the Truth. 

Notwithstanding all that, he was a worthy fellow; 
hot-headed but good-hearted ; loyal and prepossessing, 
open as day, obliging with his comrades, and gifted with 
that natural wit and picturesque imagination so fre- 
quently found amongst the people of the South. Wher- 
ever he went he was sure of a welcome. He was easily 
moved by whatever appeared to him noble or good, 
always compassionate for the troubles of others, and 
willing, to help those weaker than himself with his. ' 
strong arm, or relieve those poorer than himself froitf 
his shallow purse. With that, hasty in temper and ex- 
plosive as gunpowder. The least thing that went wrong, 
a broken plane, a tottering bench, a knot in a plank, put 
him beside himself with impatience, and his impatience 
invariably vented itself in an exclamation that was 
either an oath, an imprecation, or a blasphemy. Never 
were heard more appalling interjections than those which, 
from morning till night, mingled with the sounds of 
sawing and hammering in Macary's workshop. 


In 1833, after eight years passed in wandering from 
town to town in search of perfection, the journeyman 


joiner went back to his native town of Lavaur* He 
had retained just sufficient Christianity to wish for the 
sacrament of marriage. 

But before going further we may mention that, if the 
idea of religion for himself, and for men in general, was 
repugnant to him, he held it as essentially important 
that women should be pious ; and to those who reasoned 
with him on such contradictory priaciples, he replied by 
the most unexpected arguments. 

" When I used to go to school," he would say laughing, 
" I was taught in my grammar that La iJe%iow belonged 
to the feminine gender and not to the masculine." ' 

" But, surely, if you think religion true and proper for 
women, why should it not be as suitable for men, and 
why should you not practise it yourself ? " 

" You might as well suggest that if I consider a dress 
suitable for a woman, I ought to put on a petticoat 
myself ! " 

The real motive hidden beneath these jokes and para- 
doxes was that in histravels, Macary, who was naturally 
a keen observer, had noted that good Christian women 
made good wives, while the opposite was the case with 
girls who professed no religion. Very soon, then, after 
his return to Lavaur, he led to the altar a pious young 
girl, who seemed to possess every quality requisite to 
make him happy. She was a fervent Catholic, and as 
she loved her husband tenderly, she naturally desired 
to discuss the great question of religion with him, and 
draw him again within the pale of the Church. So one 
evening as they were walking up and down under the 
trees, by the soft light of the honeymoon, she began an 

* Layaur is a sous-prefecture in the department of Tarn. 


apostolic speech, that she had been carefully meditating. 
But the workman cut the homUy short. 

" I love you passionately, my dear little Virginie," 
said he, " and you preach very well, almost as well as 
Mcmsieur le Cur£ But if I do not go to hear sermons 
at church, it is probably because I do not like them, so 
it is useless treating me to them at home. My ideas on 
that point are unchangeable, as unchangeable as my 
love for you, my darling, so instead of sermonising, be 
content with loving me and being loved in return. Do 
not fall into the error of seeking to force your own 
opinions on your husband and worrying him continually 
to go to Mass or confession. If you compromise our 
peace by trying to turn me about your finger, we shaU 
always be quarrelling, and I shall end by hating religion 
even in women." 

The young wife's eyes were full of tears. 

" Come ! " said Francois, kissing her, " let us say no 
more about it, or rather, do you remain silent on' the 
subject. If you think I am not religious enough, you 
may be religious for us both, your Bon Dieu will lose 
nothing by the bargain, nor I neither. We shall each 
have our task in the house, my little wife ; I will work 
for you, and you shall pray for me." 

Virginie, being an intelligent woman, understood (what 
most women ignore) that a husband's conversion is not 
to be obtained by overdue pressure, pertinacity and 
torrents of words — means that are seldom efScacious 
and always dangerous — but by the surer and mor6 
patient means of the example of Christian virtues put 
into practice every hour of the day by the domestic 
hearth and in the home circle ; and by the voice of per- 


severing prayer, knocking without ceasing at the door 
of Heaven. So the young wife hid her trouble in her 
heart and maintained an unbroken silence on the for- 
bidden topic. 

" Henceforth," she thought, " I will say nothing ; but 
pray and wait for the hour of grace, and my only 
preaching shall be to try and grow better every day, 
and render my husband happy." 

Consequently Macary was happy. 

But happiness is fugitive, and hardly do we think we 
possess it than it escapes from our grasp and vanishes 
away. Such, alas ! was the case with the poor joiner's 
too brief felicity 


He had only been married a few months and was 
still in the first bliss of his union, with his excellent 
wife, when a disease which had vaguely threatened him 
towards the end of his journeyings, began to assume 
serious proportions. Large varicose veins came out on 
his legs, and were most painful and exhausting. The 
person so afflicted experiences extreme lassitude and 
acute suffering when standing up. Macary found that 
out by cruel experience ; but as he was not a man to 
give way easily before pain, he struggled bravely against 
his infirmity. 

" I have two lazy legs," he would say, " that would 
like to go to bed early and get up late. If they were 
two servants I would turn them out of doors, but since 
I am bound to keep them, I will give them such a 
shaking up that, whether they like it or not, they shall 
be forced to do their duty." 


And all day long, by a violent effort, he stood on 
his legs, planing and joining as usual, and obstinately 
refusing to see a doctor. Two or three years passed in 
this way, when an incident — his mother's illness — 
brought Doctor Eossignol to his house. 

"Well, FrauQois," said the latter, "there you are, 
always indefatigable. I never pass in the street with- 
out seeing you at work." 

" Indefatigable ? " said Macary ; " not exactly. As 
soon as I am up in the morning, and during the whole of 
the day, my legs feel like lead ; I have sharp shooting 
pains in the calves as if you were sticking your lancet 
into them. And in the evening my legs are all swelled 

" You work too hard, my good friend." 

" That is a rich man's excuse ; a poor man can never 
work hard enough. My children eat like ravens 

" You must have a thick vein all down your thigh, I 
think ? " 

" I have two immense veins. One in each leg." 

" Let me see." . . . 

" They are varicose veins," said the doctor after exa- 
mining them ; " they are very large indeed, and threaten 
to assume alarming proportions. The lumps are con- 
siderable and there is a marked obstruction. You must 
take most serious measures." 

" What ones ? " 

" You must compress your legs with linen bandages, 
and strap them up in leather gaiters ; and at the least 
fatigue you must lie down and rest yourself." 

The very window-panes must have trembled at 


the terrific oath with which Macary received this 

" What ! Stop working at twenty-six ? A nice 
father of a family you would make of me ! You must 
be laughing at me." And he looked as if he would like 
to turn the doctor out of doors. 

He continued to treat himself in his own manner, but 
the disease rapidly gained ground, and he was forced at 
last to consult the doctor of the St. Louis Mutual Help 
Society, of which he was a member. Doctor Segur's 
opinion was the same as Doctor Eossignol's. 

" Unless you follow my advice, you will lose the use 
of your legs. At forty you will be an old man." 

'Now Macary was extremely practical. The unani- 
mity of the two doctors' opinions, confirmed, besides, by 
his own ever-increasing sufferings which were becoming 
intolerable, brought him to reason. He resigned himself, 
not without tempests of fury and invective, to the treat- 
ment prescribed by the doctors. He rested from time 
to time and encased his legs, from his toes to his knees, 
in linen bandages, over which he wore strong dogskin 
gaiters tightly laced together. 

But in spite of all precautions the varicose veins grew 
worse from year to year. When Macary was about 
thirty-five or forty, the two inner saphena veins had 
swelled enormously, and stood out under the skin as 
thick as a finger. Lumps had formed of extraordinary 
dimensions, as large as an egg, which, when the patient 
took off his bandages, looked like great wens. A little 
later on the legs began to ulcerate and had to be dressed 
with cerate and lint. 

Henceforth, the unfortunate man could only work a 


few hours a day, and very often lie had to stop work 
altogether for a month and more at a time, and 
keep his bed or lie on a sofa. Old age had come on 
prematurely as Doctor Segur had warned him it would, 
at least as far as his legs were concerned, for the rest of 
his body remained perfectly healthy, and his mind had 
retained its youthful vivacity. 

His deplorable condition got gradually worse. He 
saw his children growing up around him, and was exas- 
perated at his inabnity to be the first and the last in 
the workshop. 

" I am not worth a quarter of an apprentice ! " he 
would cry sometimes, smiting a formidable blow with 
the hammer on his working bench. 

Now and then, when enforced inaction had put him 
beside himself with impatience, he would tear off his 
gaiters and bandages and throw them out of the window, 
as if, by getting rid of the remedy, he could drive away 
the disease. But a few minutes after he howled with 
anguish. The blood rushed into the veins no longer 
compressed, and seemed like liquid fire burning into his 
flesh. Macary, suffering like a soul in perdition and 
swearing like one too, called for his bandages again, with 
the same fury he had employed in tearing them off. 
" Make haste ! " he would say, " and put my dogskin on 
my dog of a skin." 

The present was gloomy, the future without hope of 
cure or even of relief. The joiner had consulted other 
doctors, amongst them Doctor Bernet ; everywhere and 
by everyone he had been declared incurable. The 
faculty was unanimous. 

It only remained for him to bear his sufferings with 


patience and resignation. But to Macary patience was 
unknown, and the sweet flower of resignation did not 
bloom amongst the harsh fruits of his garden. The 
active and impetuous man condemned to immobility ; 
the fiery nature driven violently back and imprisoned 
between four walls, could only find relief in impreca- 
tions. He growled, stormed, and fulminated from morn- 
ing tni night. A regular domestic thunderstorm. 

This tempest of pain and passion lasted ten, twenty, 
thirty years. For thirty years Macary was on the rack 
and knew not what' saint to invoke ; or rather, as the 
reader has guessed, he did not invoke any saint at all, 
but instead, devoted himself to the devil from morning 
till night. When he addressed himself to heaven it 
was by imprecations, and prayer was replaced by blas- 
phemy. Non precahai, imprecabat. The name of God 
could be heard in his house, at every hour of the day, 
but only in frenzied exclamations and interjections of 


In that same house, however, the same sacred name 

was often pronounced in a reverent whisper. Macary's 

pious wife and his daughter, Delphine, prayed with their 

whole hearts, and He who hears the secret murmur of 

the Christian, was doubtless more attentive to those 

humble supplications poured forth in silence^ than to 

the noisy outbursts of the exasperated joiner. They 

could not hope for the cure of an incurable disease and 

did not ask impossibilities, but they prayed God to 

soften the bitterness of the trial and pacify the rebellious 

soul of the sufferer. 



That nothing may be forgotten, we will here add that 
if Macary revolted against Heaven in a sort of open war, 
he had always lived at peace with his fellow-men, and 
had remained, in ripe, manhood and in the evening of 
life, the same frank, open, obliging fellow that he had 
shown himself in his youth. He cherished his wife and 
children, and assuredly, if he had died at that moment, 
he might have had engraved on his tomb, the epitaph 
(so often untrue !) that may be read at every step on 
the marble of the cemeteries : — " He was a good husband 
and father ". His fits of passion attacked things, not 
persons, he was furious against his ill-luck, but perfectly 
gentle and affectionate with the companion of his life ; 
and if, in the midst of his oaths and stormings, one of 
his children or grand-children (for time had gone on, 
and he was a grandfather) came near him, he was calmed 
as by magic, and smiled tenderly on them. He was 
an excellent neighbour, charitable and cordial, and 
the needy never knocked at his door in vain. Macary 
had but little, yet he willingly shared that little. His 
compassion for other people's troubles made him forget 
his own ; and though his own sufferings might draw 
cries of pain from his lips, the sufferings of others drew 
tears from his eyes. Many times, giving alms of the 
work that was so painful and dif&cult for him, he would 
enjoy the noble satisfaction of making a bedstead, or a 
cupboard, or a table for some poor destitute home. Like 
the widow spoken of in the Gospel and praised by the 
Saviour, he gave of his very substance, as if to yield to 
the promptings of pity was more necessary to him than 
the necessaries of life themselves. 

When a man without religion possesses such qualities 


as these, or to speak more justly, when he practises 
snch virtues towards his fellow-men, his apparent im- 
piety towards God proceeds from a pure misunderstand- 
ing. If he blasphemes it is through ignorance, because 
he does not comprehend and because his ideas have 
been warped. The wrong he does in such a case, how- 
ever monstrous may be its form in .our judgment, pro- 
ceeds infinitely less from perversion of the will than 
from an error of the mind and a partial overclouding of 
the reason, Kttle intellectual miseries which God pities 
and takes into consideration in the touching verdict of 
his forgiving justice. 

Through the mud of the gutter the eye of the Al- 
mighty discerns the rays of the pure diamond. Thus it 
often happens that the Father of Mercy takes pleasure 
in turning those generous wanderers into servants and 
friends. While the blasphemers are uttering their blas- 
phemies, or the furious exhaling their fury, the day of 
grace marked by Providence comes upon them. God 
calls them suddenly as He called Saint Paul, and, in a 
voice that brings them prostrate on their knees. He 
says : " Why persecutest thou Me ? " To the amaze- 
ment of all He gives the preference to the publican's 
house : " Zacheus, make haste, and come down ; for 
this day I must abide in thy house ". Nay, more, He 
quotes them as examples to the orthodox officials, the 
men of strict dogma and literal practice, and when he 
wants to show these latter a type and pattern to be 
followed, he chooses some poor lost one on the road be- 
tween Jerusalem and Jericho, upright in heart, though 
perhaps out of the right path in understanding, and He 
relates to His Disciples the divine story of the Samaritan. 


Never let as forget that not in vain has the Lord 
chosen to be called the "Bon Dieu". Amongst His 
numberless and limitless perfections the chief one, so to 
say, is goodness ; and goodness is above all the charac- 
teristic of His children. " Be ye therefore merciful as 
your Father also is merciful. . . . Blessed are the 
merciful : for they shall obtain mercy." Whoever is good 
belongs to the flock even though he seem to be without 
the fold ; and the Divine Shepherd comes in a blessed 
hour to seek the lost sheep marked with His mark, the 
lost drachma stamped with His image and superscrip- 
tion : Detos charitas est ! 

"La Bonte, c'est lefond des natures augustes. 
If line sevle vertu Dieu fait le ccmr desjustes, 
Comme dJvm. seul saphir le coupole du ciel." 

God will even work a miracle rather than not save 
such souls and such hearts. From His invisible throne 
comes a voice audible to mortal ear. He cries to Augus- 
tiae : " Take and read ; Tolle, lege ! " and He places 
beneath his eyes the apostolic page that is to convert 


The excellent blasphemer, Macary, had been then for 
more than thirty years in the state we have just de- 
scribed. As we have already said, if at certain periods 
he could stand up and work for a few hours, or walk 
about a little, there were other and longer periods when 
he was obliged to remain in a lying posture. This was 
especially the case when the idcers suppurated very 
much. His little business had to be arranged in view 


of these continual stoppages, or he would have lost his 
customers and been utterly ruined. Macary had brought 
up his son Charles to the business of joiner, and the 
latter was as clever a workman as his father. He was 
married and lived close by, but he came to work, in his 
father's shop every morning and kept the business going. 


About the middle of July, 1871, Macary had been 
stretched for six weeks on his sofa, condemned to com- 
plete immobility by the intensity of the disease and 
the open wounds of the ulcers. He was in a deplorable 
state, both physically and morally ; his body eaten up 
with pain, and his whole soul absorbed in dreary melan- 
choly. It occurred to him that if he had something to 
read it would divert his mind, so he asked them to get 
him a book he had heard of as containing most extraor- 
dinary things. He mentioned it as he might have 
mentioned a volume of fairy tales or The Th<msand and 
One NigMs. Providence, however, intended to turn this 
chance reading to account for its own purposes. When 
God, in the hours of yesterday — fifteen hundred years 
ago, but to Him not even as a single day — when God had 
resolved to conquer Monica's son. He placed in the hands 
of that prince of intellect and science, that great philoso- 
pher and profound thinker, the Divine Book itself, the 
text traced by the pen of the great Apostle Paul and 
inspired by the Paraclete. But for the joiner Macary, the 
illiterate Samaritan, the poor publican, the horny-handed 
workman, handling the saw and the plane on his humble 
bench, it was not needful to have recourse to such depths 


and such splendours : neither to an epistle written by a 
Saint, nor to an inspired text. 

The volume that Macary had asked for was a con- 
temporary work, a history of Apparitions and Miracles, 
written by a man of the world, a layman, some one or 
anyone, a publican also. 

The book, entitled Notre Dame de Lourdes, having 
been brought to him late in the evening, he took it up 
listlessly at his waking next morning and glanced at the 
first pages, stopping every now and then to direct the 
work then in hand, or enquire if such and such things 
had been taken home ; but by degrees, he became silent 
and absorbed in his reading, and seemed to see and hear 
nothing of exterior things. A.s a traveller leaving the 
high-road scorched with the summer sun, enters a thick 
forest where cool shades and woodland silence await 
him, and where, walking in solitary paths beneath the 
thick arches of the green trees overhead, he feels him- 
self separated from the rest of the world and lost in the 
majestic bosom of nature— so Macary, as he advanced 
in his reading, became gradually absorbed by unknown 
feelings which penetrated him irresistibly, separated 
him from all worldly preoccupation " and mysteriously 
enveloped him in a vivifying atmosphere, filled with 
the presence of the Living God. 

His strongly -marked face was bathed in tears. 

" Why ! you are crying ! " cried his wife in amaze- 
ment ; " what is there so dreadful in that book then ? " 

"My dear wife, I cannot teU you — let me be! let 
me be ! " 

" Well, but read me a few pages that I may know 
what it is about." 


" No, no ! it is impossible ! My tears choke me. We 
will read it together afterwards, but now I must have it 
all to myself." 

It seemed to Franqois Macary that he was waking 
from a bad dream, and emerging from a long dark night, 
into the brilliant rays of unexpected day. The bright- 
ness dazzled his eyes. His country, the country of the 
immortal soul, so long forgotten, reappeared before him 
with its rivers of living waters, its refreshing peace 
and its celestial horizons. Old Macary had recovered 
the Paith of his childhood. 

What was it that acted so powerfully upon him ? 
Was it the book itself ? Certainly not. No more than 
the simple water of earthly fountains acts in Baptism. 
No more than the trumpets of the Jews acted on the 
walls of Jericho, which fell at their sound. It was the 
blessing of God shed upon a means, valueless in itself ; 
but all things become instruments of good in the hands 
of Him- who made the world out of nothing. 

When Macary read the chapters where the author 
relates the miraculous effects of the supernatural source 
which sprang up at the command of the Blessed Virgin 
in the Grotto of Lourdes, he felt within himself a secret 
conviction that if he could procure some of that water 
he would be cured. 

Faith did not return alone into his soul, it was accom- 
panied by hope. 

Having opened the book with the first dawn of 
day, he finished it with the last rays of the setting 



That day, which was destined to mark a great date 
in his life, was a Sunday, the 16th July, 1871, the 
feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the 13th 
anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary to Bernadette Soubirous. 

" From that moment," he wrote to a friend later on, 
" the hand of God was upon me and guided me. With- 
out it I never could have thought of getting up, when 
I could hardly move for the state of my legs and when 
it was agony to stand, and taking the few steps that 
were to lead me to health by a way I little guessed." 

It was about eight in the evening. All day long the 
heat had been intense. 

" I cannot stay on this sofa any longer,'' said Macary. 
" I must get some air ; let us go for a turn." 

" But how can you go for a turn, my poor Franqois," 
replied his wife, "when you are not even able to stand ? " 

" No matter, I don't care. My legs may grumble if 
they like, I have borne them long enough, and the least 
they can do is to bear me sometimes." 

" Come ! come ! Do not be rash ! " 

" I mean to get out of this room and breathe the fresh 
air. Give me your arm." 

He was already on his legs, and, whether or no, they 
were obliged to let him have his way. 

Leaning with one hand on his devoted Virginie, the 
faithful support and stay of his sickness and old age, 
and with the other on a stout knotty stick, he dragged 
himself with difficulty along the street leading to Saint 
Alain, the Cathedral of Lavaur. 


So violent was the pain he endured, that nothing less 
than his extraordinary energy could have kept him on 
his legs under such atrocious sufferings. He managed, 
however, to reach his sister's house. Madame Bonafous 
saw him from her window and' hailed him. 

" Where are you going, FranQois ? " 

" For two pins I would go and throw myself over the 
hridge. My legs feel like red-hot irons." 

" Come in and rest a little." 

" Eest ? my dear Mary ! . . . I don't know what 
it is ! " The room being on the ground floor he openq^i 
the door and sat down overcome. 

They talked for a few moments. On what subject is 
of little moment, but while they were talking, night 
came on and they could no longer recognise the faces 
of the passers-by. 

A priest went along the street. It was one of the 
curates of the Cathedral, the Abb^ Coux.* As he 
drew near the open window he recognised the joiner's 
voice, which was sufficiently characteristic, being clear 
and abrupt* 

" What, Macary, are you there ? " he called from out- 
side. " You are better then ? " 

" On the contrary. Monsieur VAIM, I am worse. I 
should like to sell you the skin of my legs, but I warn 
you it is not worth much. It is all over varicose veins, 
ulcers, lumps, and knots. Before, behind, to the right, 
to the left, at the ankles, the calves, from the toes to 
the knees,it is as full of holes as an old stocking." 

The Abb^ Coux entered the house. He exhorted 

* The AbW Coux is now Cure at Lagrave, near Gaillac in tie dio- 
cese of Alby. 


Macary to patience and resignation; and after exchanging 
a few words in a general way he rose to go. 

" I must leave you," he said, " to finish my packing. 
I start for Notre Bame de Lourdes to-morrow, and if you 
have any commissions I will gladly undertake them." 

At the words, Notre Dame de Lourdes, Macary sud- 
denly raised his head. 

" Yes, certainly, I have a commission ! If your 
. Blessed Virgin has compassion on the afflicted, she 
might surely have pity on me. Tell her there is a poor 
wretch at Lavaur whose legs are rotting away with 
disease, and that one does not leave a man in such a 
state as that, if it is possible to help him out of it. Tell 
her I am worn out with suffering, that I can bear it no 
longer, and she must either kiU or cure me ! " . . . 

" I shall not ask her to kill you, you may be sure," 
replied the Abb6, smiling, " and she would certainly not 
listen to me if I did." 

Macary thought of the book he had been reading, 
and the miraculous cures it contained ; and he felt 
within himself a strong revival of hope. , 

" Monsieur I' Abbe," he resumed gravely, " if you will 
bring me a little of that water and pray for me, you 
wUl render me a great service." 

" I promise you I wUl," replied the Abb^. 


On the following Wednesday, the l9th of July, about 
nine o'clock at night, Pranqois Macary's sister, Marie, 
the same Madame Bonafous to whose house he had so 
laboriously dragged himself, and where he had seen the 


Abbd Coux, opened the door of his room. and came in. 
The Abbe was come back and had sent him a little 
bottle of water of Lourdes, about a fifth of a litre. 

" That is the thing for me ! " cried Macary, beaming 
with delight ; " I shall soon be cured now ! . . . Good 
night, Mary ! " 

The joiner got off his sofa with the help of his wife, 
then holding on to the furniture with one hand, and 
leaning on her shoulder with the other, he hobbled pain- 
fully to his bedroom. He put the bottle of water of 
Lourdes on a table, and kneeling down before a crucifix 
that his pious wife had hung over the fireplace the day 
of their marriage, he prayed a short prayer, the only one 
he could remember, to the Blessed Virgin. It was the 
" Hail Mary ! " which floated up in his memory from 
the wreck of his religious recollections, and which he 
recited with his whole soul. Then he took off his 
dressings, his bandages, and his dogskin gaiters, and 
pouring a little of the mysterious water into the hollow 
of his hand, he gently moistened his two legs, the veins, 
the enormous lumps, and the suppurating sores. His 
whole being was in prayer ; not, as just now, in a set 
form of words, but with a profound and inward uplifting, 
a mute and eloquent faith, the supreme prayer in spirit 
and in truth spoken of by the Lord Jesus, and which 
ascends straight to the pity of Almighty God. 

A little water still remained in the bottle. 

" Drink that, my man ! " said Macary to himself. And 
he swallowed at a draught all that was left. 

The linen bandages and the laced gaiters with which 
he enveloped his diseased legs, were lying on his bed. 
It was Macary's custom of a night after he was in bed. 


to roll up those bandages with the greatest care (they 
were each about five or six metres long), ready for use 
the next morning. On the evening of which we are 
speaking, however, he did nothing of the kind. A man 
of such an impetuous nature would give an impetuous 
turn even to his very faith. He gathered up his ban- 
dages and gaiters, rolled them into a shapeless mass, 
and threw them with all his strength into a comer of 
the room. 

" Good night, gaiters and bandages," cried he, as they 
flew from his hand, " good-bye for ever, dogskin and 
laces ! Since the Blessed Virgin has cured so many 
others, she will certainly cure me too. Never again will 
you be twisted round my legs ! " 

Macary's wife, though a fervent Christian, did not share 
her husband's imperturbable confidence. She smiled 
sadly at his curious mixture of prayer and hastiness, 
as she thought to herself. " Alas ! my poor old man ! 
the bandages and dogskins will have to go on again 
to-morrow, and then we shall hear the usual accom- 
paniment of expletives." 

Faith generally in the power of God and in the reality 
of miracles does not imply special faith in a certain 
fixed miracle that other people choose to proclaim as 
indubitable. Nature revolts against belief in anything 
beyond its comprehension, and to nature a miracle seems 
an impossibility. Thus in the ancient Biblical times, 
Sara, the wife of Abraham, laughed when she heard 
the angel proclaim her tardy maternity ; and the joiner's 
wife laughed on the 19th of July, 1871, when her 
husband announced with audacious assurance his cer- 
tain and immediate cure. 


Macary was generally a long time getting to sleep at 
night ; for when the bandages were removed from his 
legs the Mood rushed into the veins in torrents, causing 
him acute feverish pain, and consequent sleeplessness 
for several hours. 

But he had hardly laid his head on the pillow that 
night when he fell into a deep sleep, to the great as- 
tonishment of his wife, who crept noiselessly away 'and 
went to bed, leaving the door of communication between 
the rooms wide open. The lights were put out, and 
darkness and silence reigned in the house. 


About midnight Macary woke up. Contrary to the 
usual state of things he felt no pain in his legs. He 
passed his hand over them. The lumps were gone ! 

" Wife ! " cried he. " I am cured ! " 

" You are dreaming, my poor Francois," she answered. 
" You are dreaming. Go to sleep ! " 

" I am not dreaming," answered Macary. " I touched 
my legs, and "... 

But sleep, for a moment interrupted, weighed down 
his eyelids anew, and notwithstanding his delightful 
surprise, his head fell on the pillow again, and his senses 
were lost in profound slumber. 

He opened his eyes at five in the morning. The July 
sun was shining in at the window, and now he could 
not only touch his legs but look at them too. They 
were perfectly whole and sound. The distended veins 
ha,d diminished to their right size, the ulcers, the lumps. 


the knots had all disappeared, and the skin was soft and 
supple to eye and touch. Ah ! if up to that moment 
Macary had always expressed his feelings by terrific 
oaths, the cry to which he now gave vent denoted the 
complete revolution that had taken place in his nature. 
The poor fellow clasped his hands and raised them to 
heaven : " God ! Blessed Virgin of Lourdes ! " And 
embracing in the same thought his Heavenly Bene- 
factors, and the tried companion of his earthly pilgri- 
mage, he called out in a voice that betrayed inexpressible 
agitation : 

" Virginie ! Virginie ! " 

She thought he was calling for help, and sprang out of 
bed in terror. Her husband, his face bathed in tears, 
showed her his legs perfectly whole and sound. 

" Now look ! " he cried. " You would not believe me 
last night, when I told you I was cured ! " 

She looked and trembled, and falling on her knees by 
the bedside; buried her face in lier hands and sobbed 
aloud. • 

Macary got out of bed, stood up, walked about with- 
out gaiters or bandages and felt neither pain nor fatigue. 
He knelt down and prayed, then hurrying into' the 
workshop he lifted and carried a great plauk without 
the least effort, took it to his working-bench, fixed it 
and began planing it. His son Charles coming in for 
his day's work found him thus occupied, and uttered a 
cry of surprise. 

"What! father? You up already and in the work- 
shop ? . . . What in the world has happened ? " 

" What has happened, my boy ! Why, the water of 
Lourdes has taken effect. Come and see ! " 


And turning his wide linen trousers up above his 
knees, he uncovered his legs. 

The son was stricken dumb, as the mother had been 
a few minutes before, and could not utter a word. He 
pressed his father in his arms and wept silently. 


In the course of the morning Macary caught sight 
of a priest passing rapidly along on his way to the 
cathedral, and recognised the Abb6 Coux. He rushed 
to the door, but the priest was already fifteen or twenty 
paces off. 

"Good morning, Monsieur I'AhM!" cried Macary. 
" The Blessed Virgin has answered your prayers and 
mine too. I am cured ! Come and see ! " 

" Very well ! Very well ! " replied the Abbe Coux, 
who either did not hear distinctly, or who feared some 
trick on the part of the workman, and certainly did not 
for a moment suppose it possible that an incurable 
disease of more than thirty years' standing had disap- 
peared in a single night. " Very well ! Very well ! I 
am in a hurry ! " And he continued his way. But 
during the day he passed before the shop again. This 
time the happy joiner ran after him, and came up with 

" I told you this morning I was cured. Monsieur I'AhM, 
but I plainly saw you did not believe me. . It is true, 
however, and you can prove it with your own eyes. 
The Blessed Virgin has saved me ! " 

Macary's tone excluded all idea of joking or untruth. 
The priest was seized with a secret terror, for the super- 


natural had passed beside him, and he had failed to 
recognise it. " Is it possible ! " he cried, turning 

They went into the nearest house, which happened 
to be that of Macary's sister, where, three days ago, the 
old joiner had asked the Abb^ Coux to pray for him at 
the Eocks of MassabieUa and bring him back some 
water of Lourdes. A crowd had collected in the street 
on hearing the conversation of Macary and the curate, 
and several persons went with them into Madame Bona- 
fous' house. Macary made them all feel his restored 
legs, the places where the veins had stood out, where 
the ulcers had suppurated, and where the lumps had 

" And now, Monsieur I' AIM I " said the joiner, "now 
that the Blessed Virgin has cured my body, we must 
also heal the rest, and you shall be my doctor." . . . 

The Divine hand which had removed his physical 
disease had also touched the joiner's heart, and rran9ois 
Macary was an altered man. The unbeliever, the 
swearer, the man who never opened his mouth but to 
utter some awful imprecation, rose up the following 
Sunday from the midst of the faithful, and accompanied 
by all his family, went to receive at the Holy Table the 
God he had so long blasphemed. Tears feU from his 
eyes, and a touching joy was visible on every face. If 
there is more joy in heaven over one sinner converted 
than over a hundred just men who need no conversion, 
the Celestial Father's felicity is surely re-echoed in the 
hearts of his children here on earth. All the congrega- 
tion of the Cathedral of Saint Alain on that day 
rejoiced and were glad. 



The news of this event soon spread in the town of 
Lavaur and the surrounding neighbourhood, and created 
an immense sensation. 

Macary went to see his three doctors. Nothing could 
equal their astonishment at finding him cured. The 
disease was notoriously incurable, it dated from over 
thirty years ago ; no medical treatise had ever recounted 
a circumstance of the kind ; . . . and yet Macary 
was there, before their eyes, without either ulcers or 
varicose veins. A power, unknown to science and 
superior to Nature, had removed them all. Of the 
numerous and enormous bunches of veins, and the 
great lumps that had deformed the leg, nothing remained 
except one little knot — the smallest — and that one 
reduced, flattened, and diminished to the usual propor- 
tions without any obstruction. The disease had entirely 
disappeared, and those slight traces of its presence were 
left simply to witness to past infirmities, as the dried 
bed of a torrent testifies to all eyes the ancient passage 
of the waters. 

" Decidedly," cried Doctor S^gur, after a minute ex- 
amination, " I can only discover some few traces of those 
erun-TTums varices!' 

" Yes, indeed," responded Doctor Eossignol, examin- 
ing in his turn, " the symptoms have mddenly disappeared, 
and nothing remains of those great knots but this one 
little one, which is sensibly smaller." 

" And in which there is not a sign of obstruction," ob- 
served Doctor Bernet, astounded. " What is especially 
striking, is that the bunches of varicose veins have en- 



tirely disappeared, and in their place nothing can be 
felt but little cords, hard, void of blood and rolling 
under the finger. In. each leg the vein has its proper 
volume and follows its proper course. Now we know 
that Macary suffered from a ferpetual infirmity. All 
docfsrs are agreed on one point, namely, that varices not 
properly taken care of are incurable ; that they cannot he 
cured hy 'palliative treatment, still less do they cure spon- 
taneously ; on the contrary, they continue to get worse and 
worse. . . . And yet, this radical cure has been 
effected in a single night and under the influence of a 
simple application of compresses dipped in water of 

" This case of spontaneous cure appears to me all the 
more surprising," declared Doctor S^gur, " that the annals 
of Science make no mention of any fact of this nature.'' 
" It must be admitted," concluded Doctor Bernet, 
" that in fact, no author mentions any similar or anala- 
gous observation, and Science is powerless to explain such 
a cure. Thus, if even authentic witnesses had not 
proved certain details, affirmed by Macary, the fact of 
itself would stUl remain most extraordinary, and, to 
speak plainly, Supeenatueal." 

Such was the textual verdict pronounced by the three 
eminent doctors, one after the other. It is from their 
written declarations that we have copied their positive 
and formal expressions. At the end of the volume 
(Note I. of the Appendix) we reproduce in extenso, as 
proofs, the three certificates of these members of the 
Faculty with their signatures, attested by the Mayor 
and the Sous-Prefect. 

Adversaries of the supernatural always require 


authentic proofs and certificates emanating from men of 
science. Here they have them. 


Two months later, on the 18th of September, Macary 
took as ex-voto to the Grotto of Lourdes, his gaiters and 
bandages, those silent witnesses of his former iUs now 
divinely cured. They can be seen there still, but little 
by little the inclemency of the changing seasons is de- 
teriorating and destroying those touching relics, placed 
there to remind visitors of one of God's miracles.* 

Beneath the shadow of the Rocks of MassabieUa, 
those rocks sanctified by the presence of her who had 
so miraculously succoured and saved him, Macary's 
feelings were overwhelming. He describes them in a 
letter that we have before us. 

" I fell on my knees," he writes, '' and for ten minutes 
or more, my heart was in such a tumult of emotion, 
that I could not utter a word though I tried to pray. 

* On this occasion we wish to express our regret that precautions 
are not taken to preserve ex-voto of this sort for the edification of the 
faithful . It would be desirable to enclose the more fragile amongst them 
in crystal cases, as treasures of price, and each might bear an inscrip- 
tion stating to what event, what date, and what miraculously cured 
person it relates ; so that, with the help of euch an indication every- 
one might, on the one hand, verify the fact, and on the other, be able 
to read, if they chose, in the Annals of Notre Dams de Lourdes, or 
some other such publication, the detailed account of the miracle to 
which such and such an ex-voto bears witness. It would be the touch- 
stone placed in everyone's hand ; it would be the stamp of the mint, the 
official guarantee, graved in a metal whose intrinsic value must other- 
wise remain unknown to the public. What inappreciable importance 
would not such authenticity give to that mass of anonymous docu- 


At last a flood of tears relieved me, and I found words 
in wMch to address a prayer of thanksgiving to the 
Mother of Mercy, whom I almost fancied I saw in 
reality. Never in my life shall I forget that moment. 
If our free-thinkers could taste such happiness as one 
feels in hours like those, they would soon understand 
the difference between our Faith and their doctrines." 


Words such as these reveal at once, that the change in 
Macary's mind was no less great than the improvement 
in his body. From that day his life passed between 
work — ^for he had recovered his strength, and prayer — 
for he had recovered his faith. As the persecutor Saul 
was overthrown on the road to Damascus, so the 
blasphemer Macary had been transformed by the grace 
of God. 

His joy was great at being delivered from his infir- 
mity, but we can confidently say, after having seen and 
heard him, that it was nothing compared with his hap- 
piness at being once more a Christian. The Gospel 
speaks of the joy of the Good Shepherd when He finds 
His lost sheep, but it tells us nothing of the feelings of 
the sheep itself when gently brought back to the fold, 
or of the prodigal son when embraced by his father, or 
of the sinner when reconciled with his God. The ex- 
cellent FrauQois Macary experienced those feelings, that 
filial joy, that secret and unutterable felicity in all their 

His heart was henceforth as the heart of an apostle. 
He would have Uked to convert the whole world, and 


cause every member of the great human family to share 
in the knowledge and love of the Sovereign Truth. From 
the moment of his cure he never ceased to offer thanks- 
giving to God, and to witness publicly before men to 
the celestial favour of which he had been the object. 

Every evening, after the labours of the day, he went 
and passed an hour in church, alone before the Blessed 
Sacrament. To those who came to see him he related 
his history ; to such as wrote to him he replied scrupu- 
lously by a clear, succinct and animated account of the 
great event of his life. 

If by chance he read in some newspaper an attack 
on miracles, the worthy joiner left his plane, took up 
his pen and sent the editor a detailed account of what 
had happened to himself. Several of the letters which 
he thus wrote have been communicated to us, and we 
have drawn largely from them in our efforts to intro- 
duce into our own relation something of the fresh per- 
fume of his frank straightforward language. 

"... From that moment I have worn nothing 
but stockings on my legs, like everybody else. I have 
never seen the least swelling nor felt the least pain, and 
I work every day from five in the morning till seven in 
the evening." 

" These are the exact details of the marvel that it 
pleased Our Lady of Lourdes to accomplish in me, and 
that I forward to you on oath, requesting you to publish 
and proclaim them wherever you like. I shall be only 
too happy if I can hear that my letter to you has 
brought back some unbeliever to the right road ! As 
for me, who never prayed, I can assure you I make up 
for lost time, and never shall I cease to thank God and 


the Blessed Virgin for having chosen me as a witness 

and a proof of their glory and goodness. Adieu. Please 

think of me in your prayers, and believe me your 

brother in Jesus Christ, 

"Feanqois Macary." 


In the following year, on the 24th of June, a proces- 
sion of about a thousand Christians, men and women, 
priests and laymen, went singing hymns, along the road 
that leads to the Grotto of Lourdes. The pilgrims re- 
membered that the Blessed Virgin had, in old times, 
delivered their city — once from the plague, in the four- 
teenth century, and a second time from an invasion in 
the sixteenth century — and a magnificent emblasoned 
banner bearing two dates recalling those ancestral 
traditions, was carried at the head of the procession. 
. . . But between those two dates of the past stood 
out, in large gold letters, a quite recent one^l9th July, 
1871, the date of the supernatural cure we have just 
related. On the other side of the banner was the in- 
scription. To the Immaculate Virgin, the grateful tovm 
of Lavaur. The man who carried this banner, token of 
the gratitude of a whole town, was FranQois Macary. 
Every year from the time of his cure, he went to 
Lourdes on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving. 


He made his usual pilgrimage to the sanctuary of his 
benefactress in 1875, at the beginning of October. We 
were then at Lourdes, and Macary came to see us. 
Never shall we forget his open, genial face. 


" Ah sir ! " lie cried, " how much I have wished to 
know you. It was through your book that I found the 
way to my two cures.'' He called his conversion his 
second cure. 

In saying these words, the worthy man opened his 
arms and gave us the friendly embrace and the brotherly 
kiss so common amongst the early Christians. 

WMle listening to him talking, and examining his 
once diseased legs, we noted the peculiar character of 
his physical state. Since his miraculous cure, which 
had taken place four years previously, Macary had been 
preserved, not only from any return of his disease, but 
from every other kind of indisposition. It seemed to 
please the Divine Hand to deliver from any change in 
detail, the health of the man who had suffered for so 
long. He was thin, agile, vigorous, straight, and firm. 
His appearance was invulnerable. Subject to the law of 
death, he looked like a man inaccessible to the attacks 
of illness, and like a soldier in steel armour on whose 
breast a lance slips without leaAring any trace. A 
violent shock may overthrow them, but no attack can 
harm them. 

We begged him to sit at table with us and share 
our meal. And it was during this fraternal repast that 
he related his history with extraordinary animation and 
spirit, and an emotion that we all shared. The Cure 
Peyramale, the Abbe Pomian, Bernadette's catechist, 
the Abbe Peyret, Curate of Lourdes, at present Cure 
of Aubar^de, and M. and Mme. Ernest Hello, were with 
us. We were all under the charm of his Christian, 
picturesque, and eloquent language. 


In a corner of the dining-room my secretary was 
seated at his desk. 

" What is that young man doing ? " asked Macary, 
towards the end of the dinner. 

'■ He is a short-hand writer. He can write as fast as 
anyone can speak, and he has Caught and fixed on the 
paper every word that has left your lips." 

" Well, there is not one to be scratched out. From 
the beginning to the end you have heard nothing but 
the truth." 

He remained with us during his stay at Lourdes, and 
only left us two days later. I went with him to the 
station, and promised to go and see him the following 
month at Lavaur, on my way to Paris. I wanted to 
talk with him again, to get more thoroughly into the 
heart of his history and the history of his heart. . . . 
Alas ! man proposes and God disposes. 


A fortnight after, on the 21st of October, 1875, there 
was general mourning in the town of Lavaur. An im- 
mense crowd followed to the cemetery the remains of 
the most popular and most esteemed workman of the 
place. Franqois Macary had been suddenly carried off 
by the rupture of an aneurism. 'No suffering, no sick- 
ness, no uneasiness had preceded his sudden death. 
The man healed by the Blessed Virgin had not been 
ill ; he had simply ceased to live in this world to enter 
into the life above. He died cured. 

" Thus," writes a friendly pen, '' Lazarus was resusci- 
tated and died. Thus died in the same way, after a 


certain number of years passed on earth, all those 
whose miraculous cures, by the hand of the Saviour 
Jesus, are related in the Gospel. But their restoration 
to health and life attested the power of the Lord ; and 
when once that work was accomplished, God suffered 
them to die like other men, and to enter like them into 
the place of reward." * 

That is the reason, good and pious Macary, why I 
could not see you again in this world, nor keep my 
promise of paying you a visit. Pray God that the 
engagement be only put off, and that one day, with all 
those whom I love, we may be united in the glory of 
the throne of God, at the feet of her, whose history, all 
unworthy as I am, I have had the supreme joy of 
writing, and whose powerful hand, to use your own 
language, has cured you twice. -f- 

* E. Artus. 

+ The miraculous event whicli we have given in detail, is the sub- 
ject of one of the painted glass-windows in the Basilica of Lourdes. 
The window is in the chapel of the Rosary, the seventh to the right 
on entering. Francois Macary is represented at the moment when he 
discovers his cure by the water of Lourdes. Beside him on the table 
is the book which revived his faith. At the top of the window Our 
' Lady of Lourdes is represented shedding rays of grace on the workman. 
The wife of the joiner of Lavaur stands by, clasping her hands and 
thanking God. 




To Moniieur Henri Lasserre. 

AuTUN, 10th September, 1883. 


In consenting to the publicity you propose 
giving to the narrative you have communicated to me, 
I make, as you are aware, a very great sacrifice. It is 
more painful to me than I can say that things of so 
intimate a nature should be exposed to the universal 
gaze of the world. 

But since it may be for the greater glory of the 
Blessed Virgin that her benefits be thus brought to 
light, I do not hesitate to surmount my repugnance, 
and I declare, as also do my family who sign this letter 
with me, that everything contained in this narrative is 
the exact truth. 

I must add, however, that its pages contain certain 


personal appreciations and friendly portraits which I 
should have wished, and still wish, to see suppressed. 

Jeanne-Marie de Fontenay, 
Enfant de Marie. 
E. DE Fontenay. 

M. DE Fontenay, 

nde DE Feoissaed-Broissia. 
Joseph de Fontenay, S.J. 

Henry de Fontenay. 


Answer to the precedinff Letter. 

Les Bretoux, 12th September, 188S. 


The glory of the Blessed Virgin does not allow 
me, as you have understood yourself, to leave in dark- 
ness and under a bushel the remarkable event of which, 
some time ago, I was providentially a witness at the 
Crypt of Lourdes. Doubtless it was accomplished in a 
certain measure for your own personal advantage, but 
infinitely more, believe me, for the good of souls, and 
the edification of Christians. As for my personal 
appreciations and the colouring of my portraits, I 
cannot, alas ! even to avoid giving you some little 
pain, abdicate the just rights of History. So you must 
forgive me for publishing these pages exactly as I have 
written them, in all sincerity of thought and in all 
uprightness of intention. 


Pray to Our Lady of Lourdes that it may please her 
to bless this narrative, and use it to spread Paith, Hope, 
and Charity in all hearts. 

Henei Lasseere. 


To Monsieur Henri Lasserre. 

LouEDES, 16th September, 1882. 


I have just read your narrative. The history 
you relate, with which I have been personally mixed 
up, and of which I have known every detail for a long 
time past, could not possibly be chronicled with more 
respectful exactness. I am happy to add my testimony 
to that of the family de Fontenay. 

De MtrsY, 
Cur^ de Chagny. 


In 1865, Mile. Jeanne was eighteen. Intelligent in 
mind, enthusiastic in heart, and alert and active in body, 
she came and went, hither and thither, carried away by 
the joyous fever of youth just waking up to life, and 
unwilling to lose anything of the dazzling spectacle that 
nature presents to that privileged age. Full of health 
and strength, with sensitive nerves capable of deep 
feeling, and muscles of steel invulnerable to fatigue, 
she loved the open-air life of the country, and braved 
with equal impunity the scorching rays of the summer 
sun, or the piercing blasts of the wintry wind ; indeed, 
not even the frost and snow of winter could check her 
excursions and exploring expeditions through the fields, 
the pastures, and the woods, that adorn the banks of 
the Meurthe. 

Providence had endowed her with an engaging grace 
of person, more attractive far than- mere beauty. The 
firm, clear lines of her face, her large black eyes, her 
long silky hair rolled round her head in a coronet, her 
supple form and graceful walk, gave to her whole per- 
son a captivating harmony, that charmed the mind and 
fixed itself in the memory. She had been brought up 
at the convent of the Sacred Heart of Nancy, by pious 


and highly educated teachers, and had received at their 
hands a complete education according to the world, and 
a perfect education according to the Church. Her heart 
and mind had been formed to love all that w^as great 
and noble, good and true, and in her eyes, the type of 
all greatness, goodness, beauty, and truth, after Our Lord 
Jesus Christ and above every other creature, was the 
Blessed and Immaculate Virgin, towards whom she 
cherished an ardent devotion. She was proud to pos- 
sess among her baptismal names that of the Queen of 
Heaven, and to have been consecrated to that Mother 
of mothers. She always signed her name thus : — 
" Jeanne Marie, Enfant de Marie ". 

Her father was of noble race, and occupied an im- 
portant position in a high-class manufacture that touches 
on the confines of art, and is almost an art of itself. 
M. de Fontenay was the Director of the celebrated 
Glass-works of Baccarat. The workmen who had 
watched Jeanne from her cradle, and seen her try her 
first steps on the lawns of the manufactory, now beheld 
her sometimes running and playing in the park, like a 
gazelle, sometimes following the road leading to the 
town with a parcel under her arm. Whither was she 
going thus mysteriously laden ? Accompanied by her 
mother or a Sister of Charity, she was directing her 
steps to the dwellings of the poor and sick, taking 
necessaries or even acceptable superfluities, to those of 
whom Jesus Christ has said : " Amen, I say to you, as 
you did it to one of these my least brethren you did 
it to Me ". And that was why she was beloved by the 
whole country-side. She attributed to the Almighty 
all the sx^lendours of the creation, thanked Him for the 


good things she enjoyed, accepted His gifts with grati- 
tude, and expanded innocently, like a fair, flower, in the 
exuberant delight of Ufe. Fortune spread its softest 
carpet before her, and scattered its most luxuriant 
flowers on her path. She was in the dawn and spring- 
time of her existence, and birds of Paradise sang their 
morning song in the garden of her heart. Within and 
without all was content and rejoicing. To-day, Happi- 
ness; to-morrow, Hope. The sky was pure, and to 
Jeanne's delighted eyes the future revealed only smiling 
landscapes and cloudless horizons. Happiness, health, 
riches, youth. Christian belief, and human science : 
Jeanne possessed them all. Could anything be wanting 
in her life' ? Nothing. 

Her father, M. de Fontenay, a man whose merit was 
only equalled by his modesty, was a distinguished 
chemist, and the art of glass-making was indebted to 
him for some remarkable improvements. At the 
International Exhibition, of 1867, the articles in glass, 
incomparable marvels of beauty, that had been manu- 
factured under his directions were universally admired.* 

*The illustrious chemist Dumas speaks o£ him thus : "Monsieur 
de Fontenay," he says, "had hardly finished his education when he 
transformed the manufacture of crystal hy introducing into France the 
art of making coloured glass, painted or ornamented. This art has 
developed, and become a source of immense commerce to our 
country ". — " The first manufacture of coloured glass," says M. Emile 
MuUer, " is due to M. de Fontenay, who has gloriously opened the way 
to our glass-making engineers by the success of the Glass Works of 
Baccarat. They have been for the last thirty years embodied in their 
Director, to whom we are also indebted for some interesting studies on 
liqueous combustibles. "—(Speeches of MM. Dumas and MuUer on 
the 21st of June, 1879, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the 
foundation of the School of Arts and Manufactures, presided over by 
the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.) 


But he was something more and better than a scientific 
man ; he was a man of Faith and Charity. 

The working population of Baccarat were always sure 
of finding in their paternal Director, help and protection 
in time of need. The distinguished glass-maker was 
beloved and revered by the worthy people whom he had 
guided for more than a quarter of a century in the 
glorious path of labour, and whom he led also, by the 
great teachiag of example, in the path of reKgious ob- 
servance ; realizing in his own person, the type, alas ! 
too rare in our days, of the Christian man of business. 
He was seconded in his task by a wife in every way 
worthy of him. The blessing of God had descended on 
their house. Pive children were born of M. de Fon- 
tenay's marriage with Mile. Marthe de Froissard- 
Broissia, two of whom, Antoine and Marthe, had died 
young. The three others who remained were the joy 
and delight of their parents. The eldest son, Henry, 
followed in his father's footsteps, and loved to investi- 
gate, surrounded by retorts and alembics, the fruitful 
secrets hidden by the Creator in the constitution of 
bodies. His brother Joseph, who at that time was about 
ten or twelve years of age, was of an ardent nature, im- 
pulsive, full of life and spirits — always on fire, but a 
fire whose pure flame rose straight to heaven, and was 
never turned earthward by any evil wind. — He had, so 
to speak, all the impetuosity of innocence. The elder 
was the ripening fruit, the younger the bud, full of sap 
and ready to break forth into blossom. Between the 
two, Jeanne shone a fair spring flower bright and per- 
fumed. . . . Was anything wanting in this family ? 


We are mistaken. — Something was wanting: Mis- 

In making the round of the vast magazines of Bac- 
carat, the eye contemplates at every instant the most 
brilliant specimens of ancient and modern glass-making. 
Here and there, on magnificent vases of muslin-crystal 
ornamented with engravings of flowers and artistic 
arabesques, noble names, ancient coats of arms and 
illustrious mottoes were inscribed. On all sides shone 
great lustres glittering with countless drops and pen- 
dants, urns, goblets, chandeliers and girandoles glowing 
with warm colour and rainbow hues. . . . Alas ! alas ! 
was not this the place in which to remember with fear 
and trembling old Corneille's terrible and melancholy 
verse : 

" Toute cette faicM, 

Sujette k rinstabilit^ 
En moins que rien tombe k terre, 
Et comme elle a I'eolat du verre, 
EUe en a la fragility ! " * 


One day that the ladies were out_ driving, either 
through the horses running away or the inexperience of 
the coachman, Jeanne had a narrow escape from death. 
A sudden and violent shock threw her out of the car- 
riage, which fell heavily upon her, crushing her beneath 
its weight. 

* "All our felicity, 

Subject to instability, 
Falls to the ground, alas ! 
And possessing tie briUianoe of glass. 
Has also its fragility ! " 


No limbs were broken, but the accident, which a little 
later on was aggravated by a fall from a horse, had 
caused a serious shock to the young girl's organisation, 
the consequences of which, as time passed on, became 
far more disastrous than any fracture could have been. 

Those consequences, however, did not manifest them- 
selves immediately. Although a little delicate, Jeanne 
appeared, after a certain time, sufficiently recovered to 
be permitted to realise in the summer of 1867 the 
favourite dream of her childhood, and pass two months 
in the capital of the Christian world. There she saw 
the Pope, Pius the Ninth, and brought back with her, 
as a precious remembrance of her pious journey, a 
rosary that the Holy Father had held in his hand 
during the interview, and which never left her from 
that time. 

A circumstance of that journey had particularly im- 
pressed itself on Jeanne's memory. As she and her 
mother were walking one day in the outskirts of Rome, 
they perceived, a few steps before them, the august 
successor of the Prince of the Apostles. He also had 
wandered in that direction in search of fresh air and 
solitude. At that moment a few drops of rain began 
to fall, and the Pope re-entered his carriage. Jeanne 
ran and threw herself at his feet. 

"Holy Father, bless me !" 

The Vicar of Jesus Christ laid his venerable hands 
on the young girl's head. 

" I bless you," he said. 

Then, fixing on her his soft and penetrating eyes, he 
added : " And the Blessed Virgin wiU bless you also ". 

That pilgrimage to Eome, that poetic journey across 


the picturesque plains which border the Appeuines, 
the stay in the Eternal City, the memorable audience at 
the Vatican, and the filial prostration at the feet of the 
Sovereign Pontiff, composed the supreme fite, of her 

Dark shadows were about to descend on that pro- 
mising dawn, and enduring trials to succeed to fleeting 


From the time of her return to France, the latent 
consequences of Jeanne's two previous falls began to 
assume a more marked and threatening character, and 
her health was seriously affected. She became subject 
to violent attacks of pain, and felt within herself that 
something in her organisation was radically wrong. 

The effects of the disease, as so often happens, soon 
manifested itself in her legs; they became gradually 
weaker and weaker. As much as she had once loved 
movement and activity, so much she was now appre- 
hensive of the least fatigue and anxious for repose. 
She hardly ever went out, for the shortest walk over- 
whelmed her with weariness, and she was obliged to 
rest after it in an arm-chair or on a sofa. Dark rings 
encircled her eyes, which gradually assumed that painful 
brilliancy peculiar to fever and sleeplessness 

Such was her state when, from the very beginning of 
the war, the Prussians over-ran Baccarat. 

It is not our intention to retrace the sombre scenes, 
the terrors and the suspense of those terrible hours. 
But it is easy to imagine what the poor girl must have 
felt at the sight of the German ofi&cers and soldiers. 


making themselves masters of the house, and filling it 
from morning tiU. night with the tumult of their cries 
and oaths, the suffocating atmosphere of their pipes 
and the sinister clanking of their arms. 

Although the room where Jeanne was so often de- 
tained in bed was guarded by her mother as a sanctuary 
of suffering, the brutal curiosity of the invaders did not 
always respect its threshold ; and more than once the 
poor girl was terrified by her door half-opening and a 
head covered with an iron-pointed helmet intruding 
itself to glance with , insolent inquisition round the 
room. In addition to that, she was ever in constant 
agonies of terror and alarm, for whenever a franc-tireur 
was seen in the neighbourhood the Prussians threatened 
to set fire to the Manufactories and shoot the Director. 

M. de Fontenay's admirable energy never once forsook 
him in the midst of so many perils ; he thought of his 
workmen as much as of his family — the father watched 
over all and everyone. 

The eldest son Henry had, from the commencement 
of the national disasters, engaged as volunteer, and ac- 
quitted himself bravely in the decimated ranks of our 
armies. He was struck by a Prussian ball and obliged 
to undergo the amputation of one of his fingers. . . . 
What sorrow and bitter grief in that once calm and 
happy home ! By the end of the war Jeanne's condi- 
tion had become seriously worse. Her weary limbs 
only found a little relief, or rather only escaped absolute 
suffering, when stretched on a sofa covered with cush- 
ions and pniows. There she passed long days, some- 
times reading, sometimes with eyes fixed on space and 
thoughts lost in sad reflections of which God alone 


knew the secret !— sometimes witli clasped hands im- 
ploring assistance and courage of the Sovereign Consoler. 

Amongst the works she glanced at or read to help to 
pass the time was one that, for about a week, seemed to 
pre-occupy her mind and make her thoughful. The 
different chapters of Our Lady of Lourdes (such was 
the title of the volume) treated, in fact, of divine mar- 
vels and extraordinary cures accomplished in our own 
days at the foot of the Pyrenees, without any other 
help than prayer and the direct intervention of the 
Blessed Virgin. She imagined that it would be ambitious 
to aspire to a miracle, such celestial favours, according 
to her ideas, being granted only to very saintly persons ; 
but the thought that she might be taken to Lourdes 
presented itself to her mind still absorbed with the 
narrative she had just read, and thrilled her with a sort 
of vague hope, while she passed through her feverish 
fingers the rosary given her by Pius the Mnth. 

But Jeanne, like a fragile and flexible flower which 
the breeze inclines from side to side according to its 
varying caprice, soon turned her reveries in another 
direction and thought no more of that fugitive impres- 


Madame de Fontenay was a most devoted mother, 
and her daughter's cruel disease was her constant 
anxiety, and her continual preoccupation. It was she, 
and she alone, who filled the post of sick nurse, and 
from her hand only did Jeanne receive the attentions 
her state required, for she would yield to no stranger 
the dear but cruel privilege of waiting on her child. 


She was on foot instantly at every call, every moan, 
every complaint even unconscious, always near Jeanne 
during the day, and sleeping beside her bed at night the 
light watchful sleep of vigilance — that sleep so unknown 
to heavy selfishness, and so natural to anxious love. 

It will easily be understood that in consequence of 
this state of things, the family isolated themselves from 
the outside world, and kept to themselves a trouble that 
nothing could alleviate, neither the common-place 
civilities of the indifferent, nor even the sympathy of 
friendship. And, indeed, there are some troubles which 
are only aggravated by any attempt at consolation. 

We must add that the poor mother courted retire- 
ment all the more, because she was preoccupied per- 
haps excessively by the thousand rumours spread by 
the curious, and she objected, above aU things, to her 
daughter being looked upon as a confirmed invalid. 
She feared also that the sight of her prolonged weak- 
ness might bring to some inadvertent lips the fatal 
word " consumption," wherefore she was urgent that 
in public Jeanne should struggle against her feelings 
at any cost. 

The young girl, endowed with great strength of 
mind, constrained herself, therefore, whenever visitors 
called, to sit up in an easy chair, and take an animated 
part in the conversation, hiding her sufferings as well 
as she could, and, by a last effort accompanying her 
friends to the door. But when they were gone, she 
threw herself on her bed writhing in agonies of acute 
pain, occasioned by the momentary violence she had 
imposed on nature. 

Madame de Toutenay, who was naturally extremely 


open and unreserved, maintained on this sore place in 
her heart an absolute silence. When anyone enquired 
after her daughter, she invariably replied : 

" Oh ! Jeanne is pretty well, her little indisposition is 
natural to her time of life, and will soon disappear." 


But if they were thus careful to throw a veil — 
a transparent one at best — over their secret trouble, 
on the other hand they neglected no means likely 
to restore health to the invalid. They knocked at 
every door, tried mineral waters, and exhausted the re- 
sources of the druggists. Madame de Tontenay would 
have liked to have the advice of all the doctors in the 
world for her beloved child, and would have tried every 
known remedy to save her. 

Alas ! " Human science," as Montaigne says, " is 
wavering and changeable, malleable and pliable to 
every wind of doctrine ". They naturally began by 
consulting the doctor of Baccarat, Doctor Mangin, who 
knew Jeanne's constitution, and had observed her illness 
from its origin. He was a man of great experience, sure 
diagnostic, and devotedlj"^ attached to the family. He 
displayed all his talent, his erudition, his intellect, in 
attempting to cure Jeanne — he had called to the help 
of science the powerful action of natural springs, and 
had sent the sick girl to Aix-les-Bains, for two successive 
seasons — ^in 1869 and 1870. But the resources of tra- 
ditional and classical medicine had been of no avail 
against the tenacity of the disease and its rapid pro- 


By the advice of M. d'Hotelans, one of her uncles 
who lived at Besan^on, Madame de Fontenay applied 
to Doctor Labrune, a learned practitioner of that town. 

Doctor Labrune shook his head while listening to the 
history of the treatment that had been followed, and 
then raised it, not \srithout some conscious pride, to pro- 
nounce his opinion : 

" My colleague of Baccarat has been following the 
old routine. We wiU leave it, and save the young lady 
by homeopathy. No more pUls ! Globules instead. 
'No more mixtures ! Dilutions in their place." 

The new trial lasted some weeks ; but globules and 
dilutions were not more ef&cacious than pills and mix- 
tures had been. Disappointed but not discouraged by 
this new failure, the mother and daughter consulted a 
celebrity of Lorraine, Doctor Schustemberg of the 
Faculty of Strasbourg. 

" How difficult it is to keep in the right path," cried 
he. " Allopathy has deviated to the right, homeopathy 
has turned to the left. In medio stat virtus. Made- 
moiselle has a rheumatic constitution, and is suffering 
from pronounced anemy. We must employ the univer- 
sal tonic, the all-powerful reviver : cold water ! Sudden 
immersions, vigorous jets, and icy douches. Hydropathy 
will be the saving of her." 

The hydropathic treatment was adopted. 

Jeanne submitted to a rigorous application of it at 
the great establishment of La Hoube, in the duchy of 
Baden, but that energetic therapeutic method produced 
no serious result. 

It was about this time that M. de Fontenay retired 
on a pension, after having directed the Glass Works of 


Baccarat for thirty-two years. He returned and settled 
in his native town of Autun. 

At Autun lived Dr. Lagoutte, who was much attached 
to the family. He was consulted. After thoroughly 
examiniug the previous treatments, and discovering 
besides a bronchial affection, he formally condemned 
the ideas of his predecessor. 

" What you want," he said, " is not cold water, but 
warm water. Go back of a season to Aix-les-Bains." . . . 

At Aix-les-Bains, Doctor I'Espines advised a surgical 
treatment, that the sick girl could not bring herself to 
consent to. . . . 

" Oh ! Who will reveal the secret of how to cure 
her ! " thought the poor distracted mother, as she had 
recourse successively to every means, listened eagerly to 
all opinions, and besought advice from every source. 
She remembered then a famous doctor of the south of 
France who had exhibited remarkable skill when he 
attended her son Henry, at the time of the amputation 
of his linger, which operation had been performed under 
considerable difficulties. He lived at Lyons, and thither 
Madame de Fontenay took her daughter. 

Life was gradually diminishing in her bloodless and 
exhausted veins. Jeanne was always cold. 

" We must have a perfectly pure atmosphere and a 
perpetual summer to restore her congealed blood and 
fortify her shattered health. It is no use plunging her 
in hot or cold water. She should bathe in the rays of 
the sun. You must go to Cannes.'' 

Thus spoke Doctor Bouchacourt. 

Immediately Madame de Fontenay and her daughter 
pitched their wandering tent on ' the warm slopes of 


the incomparable shores that border the Gulf of 

Sheltered on all sides, from the North and South 
winds, by the ranges of the Alps, or the mountains of 
the Est^rel, poor Jeanne warmed her frozen blood in the 
sun. The cosmopolitan population of Cannes noticed 
the young invalid painfully dragging herseH along on her 
niother's arm, and seeming to measure with anxious eye 
the few steps that intervened between her and the chair 
or bench on which she would find a little repose after 
her efforts, and where she was no sooner seated, than 
her maid hastened to wrap her in the folds of warm 
shawls and thick rugs. 

Six years had passed since the manifestation of the 
weakness and morbid crises which in 1867 had marked 
the first phases of the disease ; they were then at the 
beginning of 1873. It had been a long period of suffer- 
ings endured and hopes deceived. From year to year, 
and from treatment to treatment, the young girl's con- 
stitution had finished by being almost completely ruined. 

It would be well to mention here, as an explanation 
of the numerous uncertainties and contradictions in the 
doctors' opinions, that through her absolute ignorance of 
the physiological importance of certain details, Jeanne, 
in consulting the men of science, had contented herself 
with speaking only of such things as appeared grave to 
her, and remained silent on the subject of her internal 
sufferings which she considered as without importance. 

" The pains I endure, and the uncomfortable feelings 
I have," she thought, " are peculiar to my constitution. 
They make me suffer, but to suffering I can oppose re- 
signation. ... If only I could be cured of this mortal 


weakness that paralyses me, and if I could walk again, 
the rest would be a little trial that I. might offer to God." 

And in this manner, without knowing or intending it, 
she misled the doctors, by entirely concealing, or by 
lightly passing over the violent sufferings and distressing 
sensations she experienced in those parts of her body 
that had been crushed beneath the weight of the over- 
turned carriage. 

However praiseworthy and comprehensible may be 
the motives of Jeanne's reserve, we are of opinion that 
a clearer understanding of the necessities and laws of 
existence might have determined her from the beginning 
to conceal nothing. Doctors are like confessors : they 
must know all. — But notwithstanding her reticence, 
certain of them had suspected that the roots of her 
disease lay in some organic injury, some hidden evil. 


Towards the end of January, 1873, Jeanne had be- 
come so much worse that it was impossible for her to 
stand upright or make a single step. About this time 
also, the excruciating inward pains that she suffered 
increased so much in intensity that her friends were 
forced, at last, to open their eyes to the gravity of the 
symptoms. They sent for Dr. Buttura, who saw Jeanne 
in one of these attacks. She writhed screaming in 
agony, and when the attack was over, she was persuaded 
to reveal its nature. 

The doctor took the mother aside and spoke openly. 
" It is a complicated case which cannot be resolved 
either by pills or globules, or cold water or warm water. 


or sunshine. Her state of health proceeds from an 
internal cause. Dr. d'Espine of Aix was right, and how- 
ever trying it may be, you must have recourse to the 
surgeon. If Mademoiselle was a daughter of mine, I 
should not hesitate for a moment to call in an experi- 
enced specialist. Now, there is a celebrated English 
doctor staying in the neighbouring town of Mentone. 
You had better see him at once, and without losing a 
moment of time, for it has already been left far too 

The poor girl therefore resigned herself to the surgical 
care of Dr. Bennet, and passed ten or twelve weeks in 
bed, enduring the gradual cauterizations of the Dupuy- 
tren of the other side the Channel. 

But however clever he might be, the English prac- 
titioner only succeeded in making her suffer scientifically, 
and came no nearer a cure than his predecessors had 

Sometimes she fell into a state of nervous exaspera- 
tion before or after the doctor's visit. Her delicacy 
rebelled against the nature of the treatment that her 
mother's entreaties and her own faith in human science 
made it her duty to foUow. She was generally ex- 
tremely docile with doctors, properly so called, and 
willingly accepted their prescriptions, but her whole soul 
revolted with horror against the pitiless hands of the 
surgeon. Therefore, after enduring everything for three 
months without any result, her aversion and repugnance 
became insurmountable, and she was on the point of 
absolutely refusing to continue the treatment when Dr. 
Bennet was called away to England, and thus it was 
temporarily suspended. 



Informed of the situation and justly alarmed, M. de 
Fontenay, who was then at Autun, hastened to join his 
wife and daughter. Notwithstanding so many useless 
trials and repeated failures, the father and mother still 
clung with tenacious credulity to their belief in the 
power of Medicine. Hanging over their child's bed, 
they encouraged her to overcome her repugnance. 

" If not for yourself, dear child, do at least try for our 
sakes." . . . 

Jeanne, however, in her long hours of sleeplessness, 
had recalled to mind a book she had read years ago, 
and the current of her thoughts brought back to her 
recollection and revived in her heart a once fugitive 

" Father," she said, " I wiU submit to all the treat- 
ments you like — but on condition that before beginning 
a single one you will let me go to Lourdes." 

Her parents were too sincerely Christian to oppose 
the least resistance to their child's wish, but still they 
hardly dared hope for a divine intervention in their 
troubles ; and, in any case, it was considered • desirable 
to ask the advice of an eminent ecclesiastic, Mgr. 
Oaverot, then Bishop of Saint-Die, and now Cardinal- 
Archbishop of Lyons. He had known the family for 
many years, and wrote them the following letter, which 
we copy without comment. It is sufficiently clear in 
itself, and shows, by the words printed in italics, how 
grave the situation was. 

Bishop's Palace, St. Die, ^5th April, I884. 

Mt vbet deae Child, — What you tell me of the state to which 
God has permitted you to be reduced completely confirms the apprecia- 
tion contained in the letter 1 have had the honour of writing to your 
mother. If you were actually staying at Lourdes, doubtless you might 
be allowed to be taken to the church there. But to undertake the 
journey from Cannes to Lowrdes m the situation you are in would ie, 
unless you had a direct order or revelation from God, a sigruil act of 

But, my child, you will do well to consult your doctor. If he 
declares that the journey would not involve any grave consequenees for 
you, my objections fall of themselves, for I am not a man of science. 
If I were, I should not change my opinion. 

You must endeavour to see in all this, my child, the will of Ood, 
and learn, if necessary, to make Sim the sacrifice of your ovm. Besides, 
nothing prevents your promising to make the pilgrimage if you recover. 
The Blessed Virgin has no difficulty in performing miracles at a dis- 
tance, and Our Lady of Lourdes accomplishes many such every day. 

Offer my homage of respect, etc. . . . 

L. M., Bishop of Saint Di^. 

Following the prelate's advice, the doctor was con- 
sulted, and the man of science spoke literally in the 
same terms as his lordship. 

" It would be a signal act of folly to undertake the 
journey under such circumstances." . . . 

Dr. Buttura, however, who was as experienced as he 
was learned, had often remarked during his long prac- 
tice how hard and painful the sick find it to give up a 
pet idea, a plan conceived, a project that their hearts 
are set on. In the natural course of things the sick are 
petted up like spoiled children, and are often subject to 
terrible fits of obstinacy that yield to no consideration, 
and cannot be opposed without danger. The tender 
care of those about them has often been, for years. 


devoted to sparing them every little annoyance and 
watching their slightest wishes in order to gratify 
them, so that, little by little, they have got accus- 
tomed to an absolute compliance in everything; and 
when that redoubtable habit is acquired, it becomes 
almost impossible to act in opposition to their desires. 
A formal refusal to accede to a wish turns that wish 
into an imperious necessity, especially with women : 
they become low-spirited, lose their appetite and their 
sleep, and are subject to feverishness. What is to be 
done in such a case? Yield, yield always, whatever 
may be the consequences. This was certainly not 
Jeanne's case ; but Dr. Buttura, perhaps, was less sure 
of that than we are, for he added : 

" Yes, to undertake such a journey under such cir- 
cumstances would be a signal act of folly. . . . Still, 
considering the intense desire of the patient to go, it would 
perhaps be less dangerous to let her commit the folly 
than to prevent her." 


Jeanne pleased herself by distorting this sentence 
into what she called " the doctor's consent ". ISTever- 
theless, both she and her mother needed no small share 
of courage to set off on their journey, and they drove 
to the station in fear and trembling. But thanks to the 
ingenious inventions by which a railway car can be 
turned into a bedroom, and a seat into a sofa or a couch, 
the sick girl arrived safely at Lourdes the 21st May, 
1873, after a journey of two hundred and fifty leagues. 
The 21st of May in that year was the eve of the Ascen- 
sion. M. de Fontenay, her father, left Cannes at the 


same time to return to Autun, where he was one of the 
organisers of the diocesan pilgrimage which was to 
start for Paray-le-Monial the oth of June; he had 
assumed the difficult and fatiguing charge in the hope 
of increasing by his good work the chances — so uncer- 
tain, alas ! — that his daughter might have of recovering 
her health at the Grotto of Lourdes. 

Jeanne had great faith in miracles, as was proved by 
her taking such a long and difficult journey in quest 
of one. But it must be added, in all truth and sincerity, 
according to our own personal impression, — it was not 
the faith that transports mountains. 

Jeanne's faith, like her mother's, bordered on that 
vague sort of hope, obstinate in its efforts and yet never 
sure of itself, that some sick persons encourage and 
cherish — as much in the natural as in the supernatural 
order of things — in all that seems to them to contain 
the least chance of help or safety. Jeanne believed and 
believed not: she would and would not. "I had no 
faith that I should be cured," she said, " and I should 
add that some secret inward feeling prevented my ask- 
ing it with all my heart." She hesitated, and like all 
hesitating natures she thought to reconcile everything 
by taking a middle course and contenting herself with 
what might be called a half-request for a half-cure. 

" Holy Mother, at least permit that I may walk while 
I am near you ! " And the young girl, ignorant of what 
she was doing and unaccustomed to sound the depths 
of her heart, could not understand that this timidity in 
her prayer was the worm at the heart of a ripe fruit: 
doubt in the heart of faith; she could not see that 
it was the contrary of what our Lord had taught when 


He cried, in the days of old : — Cmfidite ! " Have 
faith ! " Nolite timere ! " Fear not ! " 


Madame de Pontenay and her daughter remembered 
the important part taken by the Cure Peyramale in the 
events that marked the period of the Apparitions of 
Our Lady of Lourdes, and they were inspired with the 
excellent idea of choosing him for their confessor and 
director. He was a man who, in matters of faith, pos- 
sessed superabxmdantly whatever was wanting in others ; 
and was able to make up all deficiencies without impo- 
verishing his treasure. He borrowed the expressions of 
the Divine Master to reassure our two travellers and 
raise their courage. " Si potes credere, omnia possibilia 
sunt credenti : If you believe, all things are possible to 
those who lelieve ! . . . Omnia qucecumque petieritis 
in oratione, credentes, aecipietis : Whatever you ask for 
believing, you shall receive!" And like the Israelite 
spoken of in the Gospel, they cried : " We believe ! We 
believe!" But they did not take into account their 
secret misgivings, and so forgot to add humbly : " Help 
our unbelief ! " 

The Servant of Mary helped them nevertheless, 
and little by little, during the course of a Noveno to 
Our Lady of Lourdes, Jeanne's strength came gradually 
back. One day she took five or six steps. The next 
day she went forty. The day after that she walked 
pretty easily ; and at last, after the N'oveno, on the 3rd 
of June, which was the double anniversary of her own 
and Bemadette's first communion, she went on foot 



■with the other pilgrims to the Chapel and the Grotto, 
followed the processions of Ari^ge and Pontacq, and 
returned to the town. At every step she took, Jeanne's 
surprise increased. Even after such long walks she felt 
not the least fatigue. . . . She then went with her 
mother to visit the Cur^ of Lourdes. 

• X. 

It appears to us opportune, before going on with our 
narrative, to recall a scene of the New Testament, and 
to insert here for the greater edification of the reader, a 
page of the Sacred Book : 

And forthwith Jesus obliged his disciples to go up into the 
boat and to go before him over the water till he dismissed the 

And having dismissed the multitude, he went up into a moim- 
tain alone to pray. And when it was evening he was there alone. 

But the boat in the midst of the sea was tossed with the 
waves ; for the wind was contrary. 

And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walk- 
ing upon the sea. 

And they seeing him walking upon the sea were troubled say 
ing : It is an apparition. And they cried out for fear. 

And immediately Jesus spoke to them saying : Be of good 
heart : It is I. Fear ye not. 

And Peter making answer said : Lord, if it be thou bid me 
come to thee upon the waters. 

And he said " Come " And Peter going down out of the 
boat walked upon the water to come to Jesus. 

But seeing the wind strong he was afraid : and when he began 
to sink he cried out saying : Lord, save me. 

And immediately Jesus stretching forth his hand took hold of 
him and said to him : " thou of little faith, why didst thou 


And when they were come up into the boat the wind ce&sed. 
And they that were in the boat came and adored him saying : 
Indeed thou art the Son of God. 


The Cur^ Peyramale was greatly rejoiced to see the 
young girl able to walk. However used he might be 
to such sights, his eyes always filled with .happy tears 
at each new grace accorded by Our Lady of Lourdes 
to the sick and suffering. "Glory to God and Our 
Blessed Lady ! my dear child/' he cried. " You are 
delivered from your seven years of paia and infirmity ! " 

" But, Monsieur le Cur^, I feel no proof in myself of 
being cured." 

The Abbe Peyramale looked at her in boundless as- 

" What ! when you arrived at Lourdes last week, you 
were stretched motionless on your bed, powerless to 
stand or even sit up; you were carried about from 
place to place; and now, to-day, after having walked 
to the Grotto" and back ; after having followed the pro- 
cession from beginning to end ; after returning in haste 
to come and see nie ; after, in short, striding about like 
a rural postman and climbing the steep paths like an 
antelope, you come and ask if you are cured ? " 

"Yes, but" . . . 

" Yes, but what ? Are you tired ? " 

" Not more than a person in good health." 

" Do you experience any difficulty in walking ? " 

" None whatever." 

" Are you in any pain ? " 



" Well then ! if you feel no pain, and no diffictilty in 
walking, if you experience no weariness after the dis- 
tance you have gone, how can you possibly suppose that 
you are not cured ? " 

"But I am not in my usual state. — I miss some- 

" I should think you do ! You miss your Ulness. . . 
You have been used to it for so long that it leaves a 

'■ Yes, but I have not felt what I expected and what 
evidently one ought to feel when the Blessed Virgin 
intervenes to work a miracle. Wo sudden shock, no 
secret thrill, no illumination of the soul. — None of aU. 
those things have happened. I walk Hke everybody 
else, it is true. I suffer no inconvenience, I am not 
tired; but I have never felt anything to indicate the 
exact moment when my organs were restored to their 
place, and I cannot persuade myself that I am cured." 

" Come ! Come ! It is your head that is not in its 
place, and your faith that wavers. You doubt, in the 
face of a miracle, my child, as Simon Eeter doubted 
when at the Saviour's call he walked on a sheet of water 
as if it were dry land. You must react energetically 
against this temptation which often assails the miracu- 
lously cured, and not fall into the trap set for you by 
the perfidious enemy of mankind." 

That day, which was the Tuesday of Pentecost, the 
spirit of the Holy Ghost seemed to breathe through the 
lips of the Servant of Our Lady of Lourdes. He added ; 
" Start for Paray-le-Monial to-morrow ; M. de Fontenay 
will be there on Thursday with the Pilgrimage of your 
Diocese. And there, with aU your family and your 


friends from Autun, you will thank Our Lord Jesus 
Christ on your knees for the supernatural cure that His 
Holy Mother has granted you here." ... 

Madame de Fontenay and her daughter yielded com- 
pletely to the influence of his persuasive eloquence, 
which had the effect of driving away all hesitation and 
trouble from their hearts, as the wind dissipates the 
clouds and mists of the morning. 


On leaving the Presbytery, the mother and daughter 
talked of the man of God. 

" That priest has the soul of an apostle," they said ; 
" did not our heart burn within us while he was 
talking ?" 

Christian tradition reports that Simon Peter, son of 
Jonas, had no direct descendants except his only 
daughter, Saint Petronilla. Some learned ones, indeed, 
pretend that even she was only his spiritual daughter. 
But his indirect descendants are very numerous. Madame 
de Fontenay and her daughter belonged, doubtless, to 
that ancient race, and they were also, we believe, dis- 
tantly related to the Apostle Thomas. 

So when they got back to their hotel, and were busy 
with the preparations for their departure, they began 
to think, and their courage began to diminish. 

Although Madame de Fontenay saw her beloved 
daughter walking, moving, busily attending to the 
packing, she was stUl, from excess of maternal solici- 
tude, in a state of alarm. She could not get used to 
being without fear. After having .trembled so often 


before her ch}l(i's cruel disease, she trembled now before 
the health so miraculpusly but so recently recovered. 
Such an extraordinary thing seemed to her from its 
very suddenness to be without that foundation or that 
solidity -which is assured by the slow progress of an 
ordinary convalescence. On her side, Jeanne, although 
cured, would have Hked to see herself stronger. The 
stones of the road were hard to her feet, unaccustomed 
for so many years to walking; when she saw herself 
in the glass she was frightened at the paleness of her 
face. In short, while they thanked God for the miracu- 
lous favour bestowed upon them, they became more 
and more inclined to express their gratitude in a manner 
notably different to the one recommended by the Cur^ 
of the Apparitions. 

" What a signal benefit Our Lady of Lourdes has 
granted us ; and who would have dared to hope it ? . . . 
How grateful we ought to be ! But the Blessed Virgin 
expects us to be prudent. Is not Prudence the virtue 
of the wise ? Let us be careful, then, not to fall into 
the opposite extreme, which would be sinful, nor rush 
presumptuously into some thoughtless course. Our 
Lady of Lourdes evidently looks to us to help her in 
her work of grace. Under existing circumstances, the 
best means to co-operate in it would be to resort to the 
natural resources discovered by science. Instead, then, 
of exposing ourselves by blameable temerity to the 
fatigues of Paray-le-Monial, would it not be wiser to 
start for Aix-les-Bains ? The waters are very strength- 
ening, and wiU help and consolidate the miracle." 

So, settling this admirable project in their minds, the 
ladies strapped up their trunks and portmanteaus, and 


prepared to start for Aix by the first train in the 

But at dawn the next day, when Jeanne tried to rise> 
she could neither stand nor make the least movement 
with her legs and feet. The unfortunate young girl had 
suddenly fallen back into her former state. 

Her cry of horror at this frightful awakening may be 
easily imagined. To obtain the benefit of a cure and 
lose it again ! To have had, as it were, a miracle in her 
possession, to have been invested for an instant with 
the plenitude of health, and then to see it suddenly 
disappear like an Eastern mirage ! The despair of 
Jeanne and her mother, in real life, must have equalled 
the fabled despair of Sisyphus at the fatal moment 
when the rock rolled with such difficulty to the top of 
the mountain, fell headlong down again to the bottom 
of the ravine. 

And yet, notwithstanding their clear good sense, 
they neither of them understood the meaning of this 
sudden relapse. A veil was over their eyes, or rather 
their eyes were directed away from the truth. The 
clearest-sighted people can only see what. they look 
at, and are blind to the horizon that stretches out 
behind them. 

" I am as ill as I was before, and out of reach of a 
doctor ! " cried Jeanne. ... " Ah ! how right I 
was ! No, no ! I was not cured ! . . . Let us start 
for Aix at once ! " 

Lourdes had become intolerable to her. The ringing 
of the church bells, the sound of the hymns chanted 
by the processions that passed under her window, irri- 
tated and increased her sufferings. 


The Cur^ of Lourdes met the carriage which was 
taking Jeanne to the station. 

" The blessing of Our Lady of Lourdes go with you ! 
You are starting for Paray ? " . . . 

" No, Monsieur le Guri" said the mother ; " we are 
going to Aix-les-Bains. Jeanne has had a relapse." 

And she told him the events of the morning. . , . 

The servant of Our Lady of Lourdes listened thought- 
fully, and the words of the Saviour to Simon Peter 
when he was sinking, came of themselves to his Ups : 

" Quid duhitasti, modiccefidei? Why did you doubt, 
women of little faith ? " 

However, in spite of his sanctity the Cur^ PejTamale 
had not the gift of miracles : he could not cure Jeanne 
of her illness, as Jesus, by extending His hand, had 
saved the chief of the Apostles. 

He looked long and anxiously after the unfortunate 
girl, as the carriage whirled rapidly towards the station ; 
and he prayed for her with his whole heart. 

" 0, Our Lady of Lourdes ! " he implored, " let this 
be only a trial, and do not repent of your gifts." 

The superior of the little Seminary of Autun, the 
Abb^ Duch^ne, Jeanne's spiritual director, went on a 
pilgrimage to Lourdes some little time after. The Cur^ 
Peyramale then explained the relapse to him in these 
words : 

" Both mother and daughter were wanting in faith. 
The disease will only get worse and worse, since they 
prefer the waters of Aix to the waters of Lourdes." 



Disappointed and saddened, Madame de Fontenay 
and her daughter resumed their wandering life, and 
prepared to recommence their groping perigrinations 
after the lost health, taking their chance with medical 
consultations, and the contradictory opinions of human 

The further they got from the city of Mary, the worse 
Jeanne felt herself. She had a violent attack of bron- 
chitis, which obliged them to stop at Montpellier. They 
called in Doctor Courty, one of the cleverest practi- 
tioners of the celebrated Faculty. He prescribed for 
the bronchitis, and nearly cured it, but he made no 
secret of his fears for the general condition of the 

" You must, at any cost, reconstitute the exhausted 
muscular system, stimulate the digestion, animate the 
circulation, and restore the action of the mucous. Start 
at once for Aix-les-Bains." 

" We were on our way there, doctor, to try another 
season, when the bronchitis obliged us to stop in your 

" You had better stay six weeks at Aix-les-Bains ; 
after that, you must go to Brides in Tarentaise, and 
there have your bed carried out into the open air, that 
you may breathe the vivifying air of the Alps, laden 
with aromatic tonics. After three weeks at Brides, you 
must go through France again to reach the hot-water 
springs of the Bourboule, in the mountains of Auvergne. 
Those waters, which are exceedingly active ia their 


effect, will complete the amelioration begun at Aix. 
When you have finished your season at Bourboule, come 
back here to Montpellier, for you will then be strong 
enough to undergo an energetic surgical treatment of 
two months, to which I shall subject you. You can 
then rest yourself by passing the winter at Am^lie-les- 
Bains in the Eastern Pyrenees." . . . 


During three or four months, the successive precepts 
of this learned consultation were everywhere followed 
to the letter under the directions of the best local 
doctor, and everywhere fruitlessly. Neither at Aix-les- 
Bains, nor at Brides, nor at Bourboule, did Jeanne feel 
the least improvement in her health.* The most 
melancholy presentiments overshadowed her soul, she 
saw herself slowly descending to the grave, and after 
having most unhappily doubted — at Lourdes, when she 
was cured and in perfect health — of the reality of the 
miracle, she now lost by degrees and under the in- 
fluence of her increasing sufferings, her chimeric faith 
in the power of the doctors. 

Towards the middle of September she was at Bour- 
boule, stretched motionless on her invalid chair, mourn- 
fully considering the long shadows stretching out over 
the country as the setting sun approached the horizon 

* At Brides, Mile, de Fontenay was fortunate enough to meet the 
Bishop of Tarentaise, who took the gi'eatest interest in her, and 
showed her much kindness. Mgr. Turinaz, now Bishop of Nancy 
was thus one of the witnesses of the long illness of which we are re- 
lating the history. 


behind which it would soon disappear. By a train of 
thought peculiar to those who suffer, she connected in 
her own mind the various details of the landscape spread 
out before her with her own melancholy condition. 
Summer was giving place to Autumn, and through her 
\7ind0w she noticed, here and there, amongst the luxu- 
riant foliage of the trees, some few yellow leaves, which, 
struck with premature decay, fell fluttering to the 
ground. She pictured in the immense granite rocks 
whose ponderous masses hung frowning over the hum- 
ble village, the symbol of the crushing calamity which 
weighed down her young life, resisting, and in all proba- 
bility ever likely to resist, her efforts to escape from 
it. And the river Dordogne. flowing at her feet seemed 
to her dejected imagination like the fleeting waves of 
her own existence. 

" Mother, dear mother," said she, " let us go back to 
Autun !" 

" My dear child, how can you think of such a thing ! 
And Montpellier, and AmeHe-les-Bains V . . . 

" Oh ! do let us go back to Autun ! I am dying of 
these perpetual attempts to be cured, and my whole 
being revolts against the kind of life we are leading. Is 
it not enough to be exUed, alas ! from health, without 
being exiled from one's own place, one's family, one's 
home ? I am home-sick. Hot-water springs, remedies, 
journeys, doctors and medicine are £•! become an intole- 
rable torture to me, and I want a respite. I want to 
live agaia in our own house, sleep in my own pretty 
room, see my father and brothers. ... I want it for 
myself and for you too, poor, dear mother, who are 
wearing out your strength far from your faithful ser- 


vants, in nursing me night and day — for you, who are 
killing yourself in trying to make me live." 

"But, my dear child, you must pass the coming 
winter in a mild climate, Doctor Courty — " 

" Dr. Courty has said and may say just what he likes. 
I must go back to Autun. You can put felt on the 
doors and windows and have a graduated hot-air stove, 
and fill my room up with flowers in the day-time and 
surround me with an artificial spring. And then." . . . 

" And then what ? " 

" And then — nothing ! " replied Jeanne, wiping away 
a tear. 

The thoughts to which Jeanne would not give expres- 
sion for fear of distressing her mother were, that since 
she must die, she would rather yield up her soul to God 
beneath her father's roof, surrounded by the prayers 
and adieus of her family, than expire in a strange place, 
in the vulgar atmosphere of an hotel room and exposed 
to the mercenary care of hotel servants. Her mother 
at last consented and they left Bourboule. 


At Autun the few friends who were allowed to pene- 
trate into the sick girl's room were horrified to see the 
ravages made by disease in a constitution once over- 
flowing with exuberant life. Poor Jeanne was the 
shadow of her former self, and weak beyond anything 
that could be imagined. Her languid arms refused to 
carry the food to her mouth, and during three weeks or 
a month her mother was obliged to feed her like a baby. 


It fatigued her to hear anyone talking ; her eyes were 
too weak to read and her head to think. 

From the depths of this abyss she turned her heart 
to God and implored the help of the Blessed Virgin, 
the Hope of the Hopeless. In her secret heart began 
to dawn the wish to return to the Sacred Grotto ; and 
her memory actively repassed every detail of her visit 
to Lourdes. She asked to see the Bishop who was then 
the very venerable L^s^leuc de Kerouara, and 
to him she communicated the strange event of her fugi- 
tive cure. 

" I have a priest in my diocese, who was miraculously 
cured," said he ; " it is the ^bbe de Musy. Well ! I will 
pray the Blessed Virgin to cure you miraculously also. 
In her name I command you to pray to her for your 
cure, and on my side I will call on her also." 

Then taking a little picture from his- Breviary, he 
traced a few words on the back of it and gave it 
to Jeanne. The words he had written were these, 
borrowed from the Word of God : — " Ask and you shall 

Therefore, Jeanne asked. 

A priest who was living at that time, a man of 
fervent piety and immense charity, also joined Ms 
prayers to hers and encouraged her to hope and be- 
lieve. It was the Abbe Duchgne, Superior of the little 
Seminary of Autun. Amongst all the souls whom he 
directed towards the Heavenly Country, Jeanne was 
his spiritual child of predilection and the special object 
of his most paternal solicitude. He often went to see 
her, at his word doubt and discouragement fled from 
her mind, and her beloved parents were comforted 


When the latter were more than usually overcome by- 
grief, they sought him whom all called the " Good 
Superior," and they seldom came back from their visit 
without having found some balm for their troubled 
hearts, some consolation for their sorrow, some soften^ 
ing of their inward affliction. 

One, morning in November, Madame de Fontenay, 
feeling more than usually crushed beneath the weight 
of her cross, went to seek a little strength at the source 
whence she was accustomed to draw it. As she was 
coming out, after her interview with the Abb^ Duch^ne, 
she crossed a tall priest, who was unknown to her, at 
the door of the Seminary. 

" What is his name ?" she asked of the concierge. 

" It is the Abb4 de Musy." 

" M. de Musy ? The pa,ralysed priest who was cUred 
at Lourdes V ' 

" The same." 

The poor mother hastened to run after this priest, so 
favoured of Heaven. 

" Monsiew I'Ahhe," she said, " would you perform a 
work of mercy, and come into our house to bless my 
daughter, who is infirm as you were V 

" Very willingly." 

A few minutes after, the Abbe de Musy was standing 
beside the sick-bed. 

" Alas ! alas ! what must I do 1" murmured Jeanne. 

" Believe and pray. Be resigned for the present, and 
hope in the future." 

" Monseigneur de Les^leuc has already given me the 
same encouragement, and has promised to intercede for 
my cure even without my asking him. What a great 


miracle it would be! You will pray for it also, will 
you not?" 

" Yes, indeed, I will. T am going to Lourdes very 
soon, to thank my Benefactress. On the day of the 
Immaculate Conception, at the very altar where my 
prayers were answered, 1 will supplicate the Blessed 
Virgin to do for you what she has done for me." 


M. de Musy started on his pilgrimage the first week 
in December. We have given an account of the journey 
elsewhere.* The fame of his miraculous cure had spread 
through aU the Diocese and beyond it, and the natural 
consequence was, that people from all parts recom- 
mended themselves to his prayers. Therefore, at the 
Memento of the Mass, at the moment when the priest 
becomes, before God, the ambassador of the inhabitants 
of the earth, and presents to Him their prayers and 
their desires, the excellent Abb^ de Musy took exces- 
sive care to remember everything, and minutely searched 
his memory so as not to forget any of those who had 
charged him with their invocations and messages for 
Our Lady of Lourdes. But amongst those numerous 
intentions there was one which seemed to detach itself 
from the rest, and preponderate in his thoughts, not 
by any inclination of his own heart, nor by any effort 
of his own will, but by a sort of divine obsession im- 
possible to control, and which imposed itself on him in 
spite of himself. That intention, that thought, that 
prayer, was the one relating to the recovery of Mile, de 

* See " Tlae Miracle of the Assumption," page 85. 


Fontenay. During the day, he was careful to write to 
Autun and tell them of this sign of good omen. From 
the instant she heard of it, the determination to return 
to the Grotto of the Apparitions, and bathe in the Pis- 
cina, took definitive possession of Jeanne's mind. 


During the course of her long illness, they had been 
able to carry her sometimes, at wide intervals, as far as 
the church of Notre Dame, or the chapel of the Little 
Seminary. But, notwithstanding the care they took to 
make the carriage go at a walking pace, that she might 
not be shaken during the short distance that separated 
the house from the church, it was found necessary to 
give up all idea of taking her there for the future, 
because of the intolerable suffering that all movement 
caused her, and especially because of the grave conse- 
quences apprehended by the doctors. 

Thanks to a permission obtained from Eome, she was 
able to have an altar put up in the room next her own, 
and the door of communication being put wide open, a 
large looldng-glass was so arranged that in its reflection 
she could follow, from her bed, the celebration of the 
Holy Sacrifice. 

But while the bodily condition of the young girl 
became visibly worse, her moral state entered a fresh 
phase, and assumed new and striking features. While, 
on the one hand, her ailing body, already so frail and 
exhausted, became daily weaker, on the other, her soul, 
which seemed to everyone on the point of leaving the 
world, grew strong in the certain hope of a speedy cure. 


But, did this increase of hope proceed from that un- 
hesitating faith to which Our Lord has promised 
miracles, or from the burning and ungovernable excite- 
ment that fever and forced idleness often engender in 
sick brains ? Painful questions that suggested them- 
selves to the minds of those who watched around her 
bed. It was so much the more to be feared, that some- 
times the appearance of absolute certainty suddenly 
collapsed, and gave place to exactly opposite feelings.' 
Now and then, Jeanne was assailed by depressing pre- 
sentiments ; she apprehended the fatigue of the long 
journey, and feared to find only death at the very 
place where so many others had revived to health and 

Having resolved to be at Lourdes for the loth of 
August, Feast of the Assumption, Jeanne desired to 
distribute, in the three months which preceded her 
departure, a triduum of Masses to prepare her for the 
pilgrimage so ardently desired and so tremblingly 
apprehended. On the eve of the first monthly Mass, 
however, the 14th of May, towards evening, she was so 
weak and sinking that the Abb^ DuchSne, whom she 
had sent for, thought it better not to hear her confession 
for fear of exposing her to a fatal fatigue. She was 
much distressed at his refusal, and went sadly to sleep, 
after imploring the Mother of the afflicted to support 
her in her afflictions. But during her slumbers, Ber- 
nadette, in religion Sister Mary-Bernard (who was then 
still living at the Convent of St. Gildard) appeared to 
her in a dream, smiling and gracious, and dressed in her 
costume of a Sister of Nevers. 

" Do not be troubled, neither be afraid," said she to 


Jeanne. " You will be cured at Lourdes. Only pray 
with confdence to the Blessed Virgin." 

Then Jeanne raised herself towards the Voyante of 
Lourdes and embraced her tenderly ; but, finding herself 
incommoded by the nun's cap, she made a movement 
and suddenly awoke. She saw nothing before her but 
her bed-curtains, dimly lighted by the uncertain flame 
of the night-light, but she felt herself filled with inex- 
pressible joyfulness, and, as it were, fully assured of 

No one gave vent to their reflections aloud in her 
presence, but many of her relatives and friends, priests 
and lay, murmured sadly : " Alas ! alas ! a young girl's 
dream on a Spring night is but a fragile foundation for 
such great hopes ! " 

Jeanne herself wished for a more solid basis to what 
she called " her certainty ". She had letters written to 
the different members of her family, her friends, the 
nuns of her acquaintance, and Bernadette, asking them 
to pray for her. She distributed alms, and besought 
the help of the weak and poor of this world, who are so 
strong and powerful in heaven ; she borrowed the riches 
of the poor, and begged of the beggars. She turned 
her face towards Eome and addressed herself to the 
Holy Father. Pius IX. sent her his blessing with these 
words : " May the Blessed Virgin bless you and heal 

Jeanne's pious and beloved grandmother, the Dowager 
Viscountess of Proissard-Broi^ia, took an active part 
in this crusade of supplication and invocation. Like 
Moses on the mountain, she raised to heaven her arms 
laden with good works, and humbly but fervently prayed 


for the cure of her grand-daughter, in exchange for her 
eighty years of sainlily and charitable existence. 


In the midst of the doubts and anxieties of the 
greater number of Jeanne's friends, the Abbe de Musy 
remained calm and confident. For him everything was 
a reason for increase of faith, and he proclaimed aloud 
what he also called " his certainty ". On that occasion 
a few sceptics, even among the faithful, remarked, with 
a certain touch of truth, that moderation is the rarest 
thing in the world, and they were almost inclined to 
think that the priest of Digoine, after the miracle which 
had transformed his hfe, could not avoid falling into 
the virtuous excess of inclining to believe too much. 

Weeks and months passed on, and M. de Musy cele- 
brated Holy Mass, on the 3rd August, at the private 
altar of the house of Fontenay. Jeanne followed it 
from her bed of pain. As they were at the epoch of 
the Feast of Saint Peter in Bonds, the officiating priest 
was inspired by the remembrance of that event, and the 
train of ideas it suggested was prominent in the few 
words he addressed to his intimate audience. He thus 
ended his allocution : — 

" You see. Christians, you see ! When the Almighty 
commands, nothing can resist Him ! The prison-doors 
open and the chains fall off the captive. . . . But 
there are other chaias than those with which the perse- 
cutors bound the beneficent hands of the Prince of the 
Apostles. There are infrangible chains, which bind to 
a sick-bed and seem to incorporate with incurable dis- 


ease, one of God's creatures. There are chains which ■ 
though worn by only one child, bruise and weigh down 
a whole family. But I confidently believe that the voice 
from heaven wiU soon be heard, and at its sound those 
chains also will fall off!" 

These words, like those pronounced in the preceding 
November by Mgr. de Les^leuc, sank deeply into 
Jeanne's soul, and she loved to repeat them over and 
over during her painful days and her long sleepless 
nights. The pious prelate whose name we have recalled 
had fallen asleep in the Lord hardly a month after 
having promised Jeanne to pray the Blessed Virgin for 
her cure. The young girl, who venerated his memory, 
often invoked him in the secret of her prayers as a 
powerful auxiliary and a celestial friend. 

The day of the discourse on the " chaim vjhich were 
to fall off," Jeanne and her mother, knowing that the 
Abb^ de Musy intended to arrive at Lourdes a little 
before the loth of August, solicited permission to go 
with him. But he flatly refused them. 

"Ko, certainly not," said he. "The whole diocese 
has its eyes fixed upon me because of the miracle with 
which I have been favoured. If I went with the patient, 
and she came back to Autun in the same state, it would 
only make the failure more evident ; whereas if, on the 
contrary, she came back cured, it would be thought that 
I had done something towards it, and the infallible 
result would be that I should be looked upon as a sort 
of miracle-worker by a good many worthy people, who 
would immediately want to canonize me. No ! no ! a 
thousand times no !" 

This decision was received with profound regret. 


Jeanne had flattered herself from the beginning that 
the priest miraculously cured would be as the angel 
Eaphael of this distant pilgrimage. However, no ob- 
jection could be raised against the reasons he had given, 
and her only answer was in her silent tears. . . . 
Those are arguments of the heart, often a thousand 
times more eloquent than any argument of the intellect ; 
and the Abb^ de Musy, troubled by that mute supplica- 
tion, and afflicted at the sight of the pain his refusal 
had caused, was in reality more perplexed than he 
cared to show. However legitimate might be the 
motives that determined him, pity cried aloud in his 
heart. Following his invariable custom in moments 
of trouble, he had recourse to prayer. 

It happened that like Jeanne and her family, he had 
a profound veneration for the pious memory of Mgr. 
de Leseleuc. He implored the prelate to lighten and 
guide him through the labyrinth of his uncertainty and 

What passed after that ? We cannot tell. But it is 
certain that during the last mass of a noveno said in 
memory of the defunct bishop, the Abbe de Musy felt 
his hesitations suddenly cease under the impulsion of 
an iaward voice whose accents were irresistible. And 
his wiQ, like a ship which the pilot's hand suddenly 
turns on another tack, took an exactly opposite view of 
what had at first appeared to his reason as the only and 
the best possible course to pursue. 

" I consent to whatever you choose," he said to 
Jeanne and her mother. " Your itinerary shall be 
mine. Fix the day and hour for starting yourselves, 
and may God be with us." 



Jeanne's religions enthusiasm increased to a degree 
that alarmed many of those who loved her. She could 
talk and think of nothing but the miracle, she even 
fixed its early date. Theological considerations mixed 
themselves up with her excited hopes. 

"The solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed 
Virgin," said she, "has been a Feast of Feasts to me 
all my life, and I have celebrated it more joyously than 
any of them. From my earliest years my soul rejoiced 
at the supreme triumph of our Celestial Mother: on 
the 15th of the month I used to communicate iu honour 
of the great 15th of August which is consecrated to her 
in the Catholic liturgy. If the Immaculate Conception 
marked Mary's entry into our poor world, the Assump- 
tion marked the blessed moment when she took pos- 
session of the Eternal Kingdom. The Church has 
proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed 
Virgin as a dogma of faith. I long with all my heart 
for the happy time when she will proclaim as a corre- 
sponding dogma, the glorious Assumption of the Mother 
of God." 

Thus spoke Jeanne, much to the surprise of those 
who heard her. She added : 

" It is on the Feast of the Assumption that I shall 
see the end of my cruel sufferings. As soon as the 
Blessed Virgin has cured me I shall wear her colours. 
Let my dress be prepared. A white dress and a blue 

Such exuberance of hope made them tremble for the 


consequences of a disappointment. But no one dared 
trouble her calm conviction by seeming to doubt. 
. . . They were carried away by a current against 
which resistance was impossible, so yielding to Jeanne's 
desire, Madame de Fontenay sent for the dressmaker 
and ordered the gala dress. But the following day, the 
poor girl could not sit up to have the white body tried 
on. One of her relations of whom she was very fond, 
Madame Harold de Fontenay, had come that day to see 

" You must , replace me, dear," said the sick girl. 
" You are about my size, and whatever fits you will be 
sure to do admirably for me. And then I shall be so 
happy to have a remembrance of you in my resurrection 

The young lady tried on the costume. While it was 
being fitted Jeanne's feverish eyes followed every detail 
attentively and took note of the cut and style of it. 
The measures had been well taken, the dressmaker 
had used her scissors cleverly, and everything had per- 
fectly succeeded. 

There was something in this scene at the same time 
graceful and terrible. For Jeanne, infirm and helpless, 
incapable of raising herself on her bed, to be able to 
wear the costume that a friend was trying on in her 
place, — the dress with its long white folds, and the 
blue sash, — it would require nothing less than a direct 
intervention of Almighty God in the form of one of 
those incomprehensible miracles such as used to be 
worked by the hand of Jesus Christ. 

" Stand before the glass," said Jeanne to her cousin ; 
" that is how I shall be in a week from now." 


Madame Harold de Fontenay was quite overcome. 
The light muslin weighed on her shoulders like some 
sinister vestment, and she hurriedly took off the white 
rohe that reminded her of a winding-sheet. " Alas ! " 
she thought, " this resurrection dresS' as she calls it, wUl 
perhaps be only the spotless garb of her burial ! " She 
hurried from the room, for her tears choked her, and 
hardly had she closed the door when her sobs broke 

" "What is the matter ? What is it ? " asked her hus- 
band, who was waiting for her in the next room. 

" Oh ! dear husband, I think Jeanne must be raving. 
She declares she is going to be cured, and is having a 
white dress made ! . . . Oh ! I never before under- 
stood how ill she really is ! "* 


On the Monday morning, 10th of August, the " Good 
Superior " carried the Holy Communion to Jeanne. It 
was a necessary viaticum for such a perilous journey, 
undertaken in opposition to all human prudence, for 
the purpose of seeking a divine remedy for her ills. 
They had the greatest difficulty in carrying the sick 
girl along the winding passages and corridors of the 
house, and laying her in the carriage that was waiting 
to take her to the station. The least movement of her 
body had for some time caused her such acute shooting 
pains, that when it was necessary to lift her from place 

* Madame Harold de Fontenay of whom it is here question, has been 
prematurely taken from the affection of her family, leaving behind her 
the memory of her sweet and exquisite virtues. 


to place, they had to carry her in a horizontal position, 
like a dying person on a stretcher or a dead body on 
a bier. 

The domestics and the few intimate friends who sur- 
rounded the carriage, could not refrain from tears. 
Jeanne alone, amidst so many anxious and grief-stricken 
faces, was radiant with hope. 

" Do not cry," she said, smilingly, " but look at me 
well. It is the last time you will see me like this." 

" God grant it ! my dear child," replied Mme. Joseph 
de Fontenay, one of her aunts, a most excellent person, 
full of anxiety about her. " But we must be prepared 
for everything. — You know that in provincial stations 
orders for saloon-carriages must be given at least a week 
beforehand. Has anyone thought to order one for your 
return ? " 

" My return ! " cried Jeanne. " I shall come back 
like other people, and in a third-class carriage if it is 
necessary ! " 

Her answer made most contrary impressions on those 
who heard her, 

" What faith ! " cried some. 

" What excitement ! " sighed others. 

The patient was placed in a railway carriage trans- 
formed into a bedroom. Her mother and an old servant, 
the faithful Pierette, herself half -crippled with rheuma- 
tism and afflicted with deafness, took their places beside 
her. Pierette was going to Lourdes, to pray not for her 
own cure but for her young mistress's. The Abbe de 
Musy, according to his promise, was in the train. He 
and Joseph de Fontenay had places in the carriage next 
to Jeanne's. Henry was unwell and obliged to keep 


his room, and M. de Fontenay alone had been able to 
accompany the travellers to the station. When the 
train moved slowly out of the station, he followed with 
his eyes that long string of carriages hurried noisily 
away by the roaring powers of fire and steam ; and 
remained there motionless, with fixed gaze, until the 
last clouds of smoke had disappeared from the horizon 
and he could no longer hear the rattling storm of iron 
which whirled away from him his wife, his daughter,, 
and his youngest son. Whither were they hastening, 
those beloved ones who had just vanished from his 
sight y They were going towards the unknown — an un- 
known which a few minutes before had been full of hope 
when they were all together praying and believing, but 
was fraught with terror now that they were separated and 
that neither Jeanne's amazing certainty nor the ardent 
exhortations of the miraculously cured priest were there 
to animate his heart and revive his failing faith. . . . 
At the branch line of Montchanin, where the train 
stopped for a few minutes, the pilgrims perceived on the 
platform of the station a young and grave bishop, whom 
they immediately recognised. . "What a happy coin- 
cidence," they cried. It was their bishop, Mgr. Perraud, 
who had arrived from Paray-le-Monial and was re- 
turning to Autun. He came up to the carriage where 
Jeanne was and gave her his blessing, which seemed to 
fill her with new strength as his presence filled her with 


" I start," said she, " under the protection of my two 
bishops. In heaven, where Mgr. de L^§^leuc certainly 
is, he keeps his promise and implores the Blessed Virgin 
for me. Here, on earth, by a providential dispensation, 


Mgr. Perraud, his successor, comes across our path to 
bless me just at the moment when we touch the limits 
of his diocese." 

After indescribable fatigues, and many painful attacks 
caused by the shaking of the train, Jeanne arrived at 
Lourdes on the Tuesday evening more dead than alive. 
The journey had lasted thirty-three hours. 


The next morning as soon as she was awake, she 
asked to be carried to the Grotto ; but her aching limbs, 
her exhausted state, and her extreme feebleness rendered 
it impossible. She was obliged to wait till late in the 
afternoon. The morning, however, was not entirely 
lost. About eleven o'clock, there came a knock at the 
door, and a prelate of a rugged but pleasant aspect stood 
on the threshold. 

" Monseigneur Peyramale ! " cried mother and daugh- 
ter, delighted.* And the remembrance of the words of 
the Servant of Mary came suddenly back to their minds. 

" We are come back to invoke anew the power of 
Our Lady of Lourdes. But this time we believe with 
all our souls ! " 

"Fiat tibi sicut credidisH. According to your faith 
so be it done unto you. . . . Have confidence, and 
hope for a great miracle. I have an idea that the Blessed 

* The Cur6 of Lourdes had been promoted in the month of March 
previous to the dignity of Apostolic Protonotary by a brief from Pope 
Pius the Ninth. At the same date the chapel of the pilgrimage was 
made a basilica. 


Virgin is going to kill the fatted calf for the return of 
her prodigal child ! " 

" Ah ! Monseigneur, pray for us." 

" It is already done ! " 

The heat at Lourdes in the month of August is often 
torrid. On that day the scorching southern sun pursued 
his way through a sky of cloudless blue, and rendered 
the atmosphere intolerable. And yet, Jeanne was 
cold, very cold. 

" Transie et grelottante en la fleur de ses ans 
On eut dit que I'hiver habitait son printemps ! " 

When she was put into the carriage to go to the Eocks 
of Massabiella, it was necessary to wrap her in shawls 
and travelling rugs, and put a hot water bottle to her 

She overcame without hesitation the instinctive 
shrinking of her nerves, and was immersed on her 
arrival in the icy water of the Piscina. 

The disease which had ravaged all the rest of her 
body had respected her thick and magnificent hair. 
When her tresses and plaits were undone, her hair fell 
to her feet ; and feminine nature is so constituted, that 
the mother for sure, and the daughter most probably, 
took a certain pleasure in contemplating the splendid 
ripples of that silky mantle. So Jeanne bathed her body 
in the sacred stream, but on that and the following days 
they were careful to put her in only up to her neck, so 
that her thick hair might not be wetted ; it would have 
taken so long to dry, and might have given her cold or 
brought on a feverish attack. Prudent precautions 
were thus mingled with the aspirations of faith. 


Partly from necessity, and partly from a kind of half- 
superstitious idea, it occurred to them on leaving the 
Pisciua that they might borrow for the purpose of wheel- 
ing Jeanne about on that miraculous ground, an invalid 
carriage left in the sanctuary as an ex voto the previous 
year by a paralytic priest who had suddenly recovered 
the use of his Umbs. There is often iu the human, mind 
a childish tendency to believe that certain objects are 


At the Grotto of Lourdes, as formerly around the five 
porches of the Pool of Bethsaida at Jerusalem, suffer- 
ing of every kind might be met at every hour, awaiting 
the uncertaiu moment of deliverance, and amongst the 
sick and afflicted who implored the help of the heavenly 
Doctor some naturally attracted attention more parti- 
cularly than others. There was the Abb(3 Cabane, a 
poor old priest of the diocese of Agen, who, with his 
left side completely paralysed, passed all his time at 
the Grotto dragging himself painfully about with the 
help of a stick. There was also an elderly lady, quite 
impotent, lying in an invalid chair on wheels. She was 
the Countess du Boulay from the neighbourhood of 
Eouen, and she prayed for her cure with ardent piety 
and almost impatient fervour. She passed whole days 
at the feet of the statue of Mary, she called to her 
help the prayers of aU those whom she supposed to 
possess any iafluence with Our Lady of Lourdes, and 
when a priest, a bishop, or a pilgrim of fervent appear- 
ance met her eye, she iastantly despatched her maid (a 
worthy person who seemed devoted to her) to whisper 


in their ear : " Please, have the charity to pray for my 
poor mistress whom you see yonder ! " As that pious 
embassy was often renewed and to a great number of 
persons, several of them had noticed the maid parti- 
cularly, and observed that though she asked so many to 
pray to the Blessed Virgin for her mistress, she herself 
never knelt nor even bowed before the statue of Our 
Lady of Lourdes. 

" Alas ! " replied Madame du Boulay in answer to an 
indiscreet remark made before her, " my maid is a good, 
devoted, affectionate creature, she is even pious in her 
way, but she is a protestant and does not believe in the 
Blessed Virgin." 

Around these afflicted ones crying for help knelt two 
or three hundred pilgrims praying or whispering to- 
gether, and through their midst, drawn along in her little 
carriage and holding in her hand the rosary that never 
left her, Jeanne passed on her way to the Grotto. 

It was there that the writer of these pages perceived 
for the first time, half -lying on her pillows and cushions, 
the sick girl whose history he is now relating. He 
remarked her as a new-comer amongst the human 
miseries that crowded around the Eock of Miracles, 
and he felt for her that sorrowful compassion and pity 
that one experiences at the sight of youth blighted in 
its flower and vaguely threatened with premature decay. 
But he did not know her then, neither was he acquainted 
with the tall distinguished looking priest who was pray- 
ing near her, and seemed to be encouraging her every 
now and then. It was not till later that we knew him 
as the celebrated Abb^ de Musy. 

Kneeling beside her daughter, the mother raised her 


heart and her tearful eyes in fervent supplication to the 
merciful Mother of God. Near her, a humble servant- 
maid of delicate appearance clasped her hands in fervent 
prayer, and a young man stood with his arms crossed 
and his eyes fixed on the statue of Mary, expressing 
in the contraction of his candid brow and the play 
of his mobile features, his ardent faith and his anxious 
brotherly love. It was Joseph de Fontenay. 


On the Friday, 14th of August, vigil of the Assump- 
tion, a person called at the house where we were 
staying during our annual pilgrimage, and asked to see 
us. It was the young man whose pious attitude and 
expression had so struck us at the Grotto the evening 

" Sir," he said, " I am come to you from my sister, 
who has been ill for seven years, and who arrived here 
a few days ago, to obtain if possible, a miracle from 
the Blessed Virgin. It was your book which revealed 
Lourdes to her and first inspired her with the thought 
of making this long journey to ask for her cure. She 
would very much like to speak to you, but she is infirm 
and suffers intense pain whenever she is moved about. 
If you could call on her, she would be very grateful to 
you." . . . 

" Very well, go back and tell her I will foUow you in 
a few moments." 

. And, indeed, ten minutes after I was in the street of 
the Grotto at the address Joseph had given me. 

Madame de Fontenay received me, " It was kind of 


you, sir," she said, "to comply -so promptly with our 

And she introduced me into her daughter's room. 

The sick girl was in bed, and, notwithstanding the 
heat of the season, was literally buried under blankets 
and eiderdowns. She held out to me a wasted hand 
which I respectfully pressed to my hps. 

" You are the author of ' Our Lady of Lourdes/ she 
said in a faint voice, and looking at me with innocent 
curiosity. " Oh ! sir, how your book has fascinated me 
and what tears I have shed over it ! It is a wonderful 
history." . . . 

" The events were so striking in themselves, that I 
could not spoil them entirely," I answered smiling. " It 
has pleased God to bless those humble pages and use 
them for His glory. But the book, alas ! is better worth 
than the author, and you would be sadly in error. 
Mademoiselle, if you estimated the one by the other. 
Unfortunately for me, it is better to read my books than 
to know me personally. . . . But I am come, all 
the same, as you expressed a wish to see me." 

In a few brief words she sketched me an outline of 
her long sufferings. 

" Monsieur I'AhM de Musy has accompanied me to 
Lourdes, and we are lodging in the apartments that he 
occupied himself last year. He went out of here im- 
potent and helpless the day of the Assumption, and 
came back a few hours after completely cured. . . . 
Oh ! I believe ! I believe ! I am full of hope and con- 

While she was talking I looked at her attentively, 
and read in the expressive lines of her face, all changed 


and, so to speak, ravaged by suffering, the silent com- 
mentary of her painful story. 

She was very pale, and her deadly pallor was brought 
more strikingly into relief by contrast with her large 
black eyes and the dense masses of her hair. Her 
complexion had the peculiar transparency that long 
illness gives when it strikes at last at the very prin- 
ciple and essence of life. It almost seems then, that 
the opacity of the body is effaced and dissipated, and 
that matter, become partially immaterial, allows glimp- 
ses of that inner . life invisible in a state of perfect 
health. Through the young girl's diaphenous features 
shone the reiiection. of a soul delicate and innocent in 
itself, and brought to a high degree of purity in the fire 
of tribulation. 

The poor girl felt certain she should be cured 
on the morrow, which was the Feast of the Assump- 

As she went on opening her heart to me, I felt myself 
gained over by her absolute confidence, and began to have 
the brightest and happiest presentiments. At the same 
time I would not yield completely to their influence, 
for, more than once, under similar circumstances, my 
hopes and expectations had been deceived. . . . 
Nevertheless, I could not help encouraging her faith 
by relating some of the marvels accomplished by Our 
Lady of Lourdes, especially the miraculous cure of 
Lucie Fraiture — a most touching miracle that we hope 
soon to communicate to our readers. . . . Jeanne 
listened with emotion to the various details of that 
celestial drama, and the suffering girl's eyes overflowed 
at the history of the affliction and joy of her unknown 



sister. Like herself she was a "Child of Mary". She 
resumed — 

" The Abb^ de Musy will pray for me to-morrow at 
his Thanksgiving Mass. He intends to celebrate it at 
eight o'clock at the high altar of the Crypt before which 
he was cured last year, on the same day and at the 
same hour. Mgr. Peyramale has promised me his 
powerful help ; he will ask fervently for my cure. Ber- 
nadette and a number of Eeligious, many poor persons, 
friends and relatives will receive Holy Communion 
to-morrow, to obtain the grace I am soliciting. Please 
join your prayers to those of my friends, you who have 
been so mercifully favoured of the Blessed Virgin." 

" With all my heart. Mademoiselle, I will pray to her 
to cure you ; and I shall be present with all my family 
at the eight o'clock mass to-morrow morning." 


The dawn of the Assumption had risen whei Joseph 

entered his sister's room. Her mother and Pierette 

had just finished dressing her. 

" Well, Jeanne, so it is to-day that the Blessed Virgin 

is to grant your prayers V 

"Yes," she replied, with child-like gaiety, and also 

with child-like faith ; " yes, it is to-day that Our Lady 

will cure me — to-day, Joseph, to-day!" 

Then after a moment of silence, she added — 

" Will you do me a great favour, my dear brother?" 

" Certainly, anything — I am at your orders." 

" Then go and tell Mgr. Peyramale that I was anxious 

to obtain a special prayer from him at the moment of 


starting for this mass, where I hope to find the end of 
my sufferings. 

Joseph ran out, and soon came back. 

"Monseigneur sends you word that he hopes more 
than ever, and that he will pray as fervently as he can." 

The Abb(? de Musy had gone on before, and Joseph 
went to the Grotto to fetch the invalid chair, and have 
it ready on the esplanade of the Basilica to take his 
sister into the Crypt when she arrived. It was now 
more than half-past seven. An immense crowd of 
people had assembled at Lourdes on the occasion of the 
solemnity of the Assumption ; consequently most of the 
carriages that passed along the street of the Grotto were 
fuU, and the coachmen of the others refused to take as 
their fare an impotent person whom they would be 
obliged to carry downstairs. They began to be very 
anxious and fearful of not being at the Crypt for the 
Abb^ de Musy's mass. Jeanne alone was serene and 
confident, and she reassured the others. 

" Do not be afraid," said she, " the happy time is at 
hand, when I shall no longer require to be carried to 
the Grotto. . . . And as for this carriage^the last 
I shall need— since I am bound to have it, the God of 
Goodness will inspire the driver of it with sufficient 
compassion to accept me as his fare." 

And, indeed, a very few minutes after, a driver con- 
descended to stop, certainly without any sort of sus- 
picion that the Lord had been invoked for him and that 
he was the agent of Providence. With a good deal of 
grumbling and Hi-temper, he brought the poor sick girl 
down in his arms, and laid her, helpless and powerless, 
on the back seat of the open carriage. 


Madame de Fontenay sat opposite her daughter. The 
carriage had soon passed the last houses of the town, 
and entered the admirable green country, in the midst 
of which the limpid, foaming waters of the Gave flow 
over their rocky bed. To the right stretched the soft 
outline of the hUls of Visens or of Bartres, and through 
the thick foliage of the trees, floated a long waving 
cloud of white smoke, emanating from the train that 
was steaming into the station of Lourdes, filled with 
pilgrims from Pau, Orthez or Ba,yonne. To the left 
the summits of the Pyrenees and the eternal glaciers 
sparkled in the sun. 

It was superb weather on that magnificent morning 
of the Assumption, and Nature, like the Church, seemed 
all joy and gladness. The sky was cloudless, the sun 
brilliant. The liglit breeze from the snowy mountains 
came charged with reviving freshness ; and here and 
there could be heard the blithe warbling of a bird. On 
the road, carriages and foot-passengers hurried along in 
a rapidly increasing crowd ; some going in haste to the 
Grotto or the Basilica, others returning to the town or 
moving in the direction of the Field of the Chllet, for 
the early Masses — some wearing round their necks, or 
at their waists, the big rosary of six decades, peculiar 
to those parts ; others carrying a basket of provisions, 
intending after Communion, to take their repast with 
their family or their friends under the sheltering thatch 
of the rustic Eotunda^* 

Further on, a group of young girls went along singing 
the Ave maris Stella, or some other hymn to Our Lady 
of Lourdes. And on every face could be read innocent 

* On the subject of the Eotunda, see Note II. of the Appendix. 


joy, brotherly goodwill, and the cordial content of God's 

" There is a poor afflicted person going to ask for her 
cure. May it please Our Lady of Lourdes to grant it ! " 
said they as Jeanne passed in the carriage. 

She, however, took no notice of the lovely landscape, 
or the living masses of people around her. Her hands 
were clasped, and her colourless lips murmured supreme 
invocations. . . . 

As they passed the Eotunda, she raised her eyes and 
beheld, all at once, the spire of the Basilica springing 
from its earthly foundations towards the blue firmament 
of heaven. It seemed like the image and symbol of 
her hope, that turned away from earth and aspired only 
to Celestial Mercy. The sight moved her so deeply, 
that her feelings could no longer be expressed in arti- 
culate prayer, but found vent in a burst of tears. Weep, 
my child, weep ! " Blessed are they that weep, for they 
shall be comforted." 


On the esplanade of the Basilica her brother Joseph, 
in company with a few friends, was waiting for her 
with the invalid chair. Some of her relatives were 
there also, amongst them Madame de Fontenay, de Som- 
mans and her daughter Jeanne, the sick girl's cousin, 
who had come from Luchon to pray with her, and join 
their supplications to hers. There were also present : 
the Countess du Boulay, mournfully seated in her in- 
valid chair ; the poor Abbe Cabane, half-paralysed and 
leaning on his stick; the Duchess de Salviati; Mme. 


and Mile, de MontiUe ; Mile, de Oharodon ; the Countess 
d'ArmailM and her nieces ; and many more, all anxious 
to be present at the anniversary Mass about to be said 
by the miraculously cured priest. 

Jeanne was lifted out of the carriage and placed in 
the invalid chair with every possible precaution; but 
in spite of all their care, the least movement was so 
painful to her, that her features contracted with agony. 
Her friends came eagerly round her to say a word of 
hope, and promise to pray for her ; she thanked them 
gratefully, but in her secret soul, she longed for the 
peace and repose only to be found beneath the sacred 
roof of a church ; and was impatient to reach her place 
before the altar. 

" It is time, Joseph dear, to take me into the Crypt." 
But it happened that the Eeverend P^re Sempe, the 
Superior of the Missionaries at Lourdes, whose active 
piety and universal zeal regulated the order of the pil- 
grimage, was accustomed on feast-days to forbid the 
entrance of the faithful into the Crypt, so that all might 
be constrained to be present at the ceremonies in the 
Basilica and by that means increase their splendour. 

The outside door of the Crypt was therefore locked 
and double-locked. In vain Joseph and several others 
knocked and thumped for it to be opened. 

" It is quite useless to knock," said one of the Brothers 
belonging to the convent; " the Eeverend Father Superior 
has forbidden anyone to enter the Crypt this morning." 

The consternation and anguish of the little crowd of 
pUgrims at this interdiction may be more easily ima- 
gined than described. 

" But that is impossible ! " 


" I tell you it is the order of the Superior," repeated 
the Brother. 

" But why has he given such an order ? Could we 
not speak to him ? " 

" No, he is busy in the Basilica." 

Joseph then thought of a means which would give 
him access to the Crypt by an indirect road. He 
whispered a word to Jeanne and his mother, and going 
up to the Basilica, he worked his way through the 
throng of worshippers, entered the sacristy and ran 
down the stairs leading to the underground chapel 
where the Abb^ de Musy was getting ready to celebrate 
the Sacred Mysteries. By the greatest chance in the 
world, the Abb^ had also come into the Crypt by the 
upper church, and had thus entered without any diffi- 
culty and without having the slightest suspicion of the 
Superior's prohibition. 

"Why, where is your sister?" he asked, on seeing 

" She is outside. Father Sempe has ordered the door 
of the Crypt to be kept locked this morning that no 
one may come in." 

The Abb^ de Musy immediately went out and applied 
to the functionaries of the Temple, who opposed to his 
arguments the Superior's formal orders. He insisted as 
one insists under urgent and supreme circumstances, he 
became imperative, even. At last the sacristans and 
lay-brothers yielded to the representations of the priest 
who had been cured by the Blessed Virgin ; but they 
tried to attenuate their disobedience by limiting the 
congregation to one class. 

" Only the sick ! Only the sick ! By order of the 


Eeverend Father Superior!" cried the sacristan, who 
was going to half-open the door, to the crowd outside. 

But without paying the least attention to this in- 
junction, the foremost among the pilgrims did their best 
to rush in after Jeanne and the other invalids. Fifty 
or sixty persons succeeded thus, in opposition to all the 
ukases, in penetrating into the interior of the edifice 
before the door could be shut on the torrent of invaders. 
A white-headed priest of distinguished appearance, the 
Abbe Bouvier, was foremost in this pious insurrection. 
He believed already in the miracle, and meant to be a 
witness of it at any price. • 


The door had been shut and again besieged by a 
compact crowd of complaining and grumbling pilgrims, 
when, according to the promise I had made to 
Fontenay the previous evening, I arrived at the Crypt 
a little before eight o'clock. " Monsieur Lasserre ! " cried 
a chorus of voices, as soon as I appeared, " do go and 
tell them to open the door and let us in." 

" Alas ! my good friends, I have no authority for that. 
As I cannot get the door opened for myself any more 
than for you, I shall try and overcome the difficulty in 
another way." 

Taking therefore the indirect road by which Joseph 
de Fontenay had preceded me a few minutes before, I 
succeeded like him in getting into the Crypt, followed 
by my family and two or three insubordinate pilgrims 
whom my bad example had led away. 

We looked immediately for Mile, de Fontenay. She 


had had the chair in which she was sitting, or rather 
lying, placed against the double pillar, to the left, where 
the Abbe de Musy had hidden himself the year before ; 
her mother, her faithful maid, and the friends we have 
already mentioned, were grouped around her. 

A few minutes later, the door was again cautiously 
opened, by favour. But, this time, measures of pre- 
caution against public faith were so well taken that no 
one entered except the Duke de Nemours, the Prince 
Ladislas Czartoryski, the Princess Czartoryska, and the 
Princess Blanche of Orleans. AU the other pilgrims 
were excluded in spite of their entreaties. In this 
manner only about a third of the Crypt was filled up. 

As I have just said, my attention was directed to- 
wards the sick girl. She held Pius the Ninth's rosary 
in her fingers as 'she had done when I first saw her. 
Her eyes often rested on her mother, and their expres- 
sion of filial tenderness clearly showed that if she so 
ardently desired to be cured, it was not only for herself, 
but still more for the sake of those who loved her. 

It is always easy to believe what one wishes to believe, 
and my heart was moved and full of hope. 

A reUgious thrill seemed to pass through the little 
assembly when the Abbe de Musy, clothed in the sacred 
vestments, mounted the altar steps. 

Joseph de Pontenay, Jeanne's brother, served the 

The Holy Sacrifice commenced and continued in the 
midst of a devout and rapt attention. After having 
administered to himself the Divine Sacrament, the priest 
distributed the Bread of life to all who presented them- 
selves at the eucharistic table; then passing amongst 


tte faithful he carried to the different sick persons, and 
finally to Jeanne herself, the Sacred Body of Jesus 

Thus finished the Mass of the Abb6 de Musy. Mile, 
de Tontenay was still motionless in her invalid chair. 
Had the King of Glory visited her without curing her ? 
And did He intend her to bear for ever the cross of 
disease ? Was He only trying the sick girl and her 
family by a momentary disappointment to render their 
faith more fervent ^and their reward more magnificent ? 
or had some supernatural action taken place, silently, 
and mysteriously, and unknown to all 1] Anxiety was 
on every face, and in every heart the feeling that aU was 
not yet finished ; each one remained in his place and 
seemed to await the final issue. 


The priest who was to celebrate the following Mass 
now came out of the Sacristy. He also was accompanied 
by Joseph de Fontenay as chorister boy: and as he 
passed, I raised my head and recognised him. At the 
same instant hope suddenly fled. It was the Abb6 Sire, 
professor at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, the same 
Abbe Sire who, the year before, at the same Feast of 
the Assumption and at the same hour of half-past eight, 
had offered the Holy Sacrifice at that same altar of the 
Crypt, when the Abb^ de Musy was cured. At sight of 
him a flood of thoughts filled my mind. 

" What a strange fancy of the de Fontenays," said I 
to myself, " to have invited this priest here, so that all 
the conditions in which the Abbe de Musy's cure took 


place a year ago being minutely and scrupulously copied 
to-day, the same supernatural phenomenon might be 
expected to happen again ! . . . And do they really 
think that because it is the same placej-^the same pillar, 
— the same mass, — the same altar, — the same Peast of 
the Blessed Virgin, — the same date, — the same hour, — 
the same officiatiag priest, — they will suddenly see a 
reproduction of the same miracle ! , . . What vain 
superstition ! A miracle is not a chemical precipi- 
tate that one can obtain when one likes by uniting 
and mixing together the same quantities of the same 
elements. God is a Spirit! and the effects of His 
power and goodness have nothing in common with the 
clever arrangements of exterior things and the mathe- 
matical calculations of material combinations. On the 
contrary the Almighty is indignant at such an outrage 
to His divine essence. Poor Jeanne^s prayers will cer- 
tainly not b£ answered, and she will remain a confirmed 
invalid ! " . . . While I was thus following the 
logical course of my deductions the Abbe Sire finished 
reading the gospel of which my wandering attention 
had heard very little. 

Must it be acknowledged that these considerations 
seemed to me full of such rational and Christian philo- 
sophy, that I rather admired myself in petto for having 
analysed the actions of Almighty God and the myste- 
rious laws of supernatural events with so much discern- 
ment. Some vague echoes of the Pharisee's thanksgiving, 
some vaiu likeness to Garo's foolish vanity, were mixed 
with my prayers and meditations. " Yes, indeed. Lord, 
I thank Thee for having granted me the precious grace 
pf a well-balanced, far-seeing, and intelligent faith! 


Thanks to Thy benefits, I raise myself far above the 
frivolities, forms, and superstitious tendencies that are, 
alas ! so wide spread, and which even to-day have mis- 
led this poor young girl, . . . who assuredly will 
not be cured ! " . . . 

I had reached this point of my complacent reflections, 
when a sort of electric start went through the whole 
congregation, causing every head to be raised and every 
eye strained. . . . Jeanne had just risen from her 
invalid chair, dropping all the shawls and rugs that 
covered her on the ground. . . . What had passed 
in the young girl's ardent soul and debiHtiated frame ? 

We must retrace our steps a little to i relate it pro- 
perly. \ 


During the Abb6 de Musy's Mass, and shortly after 
Holy Communion, Jeanne had experienced a painful 
tingling in her helpless legs. ' 

" What is going tb happen to me, now ? " she thought, 
in terror. " Am I going to have ah attack in the church? 
. . . Oh! Blessed Virgin, will you really kot cure 

The painful tingling ceased in an instant and the 
young girl resumed her prayer, " Our Lady of Lourdes, 
have pity on me ! " 

But again it came on and again she addressed herself 
to the Mother of God : 

" Blessed Virgin, can it be possible that you will 
not cure me ? " . . . 

The tingling again ceased. This time, however, Jeanne 
understood by a sort of divination of the heart that 


the secret agitation which penetrated her nerves, her 
muscles, the very fibres of her being and the marrow of 
her bones, was the cure itself being operated in the 
mystery of her organization. She abandoned herself 
then without reserve. 

" 0, Mary ! my Mother ! do with me whatever you 
wiU." . . . And as if the Sovereign Creator had 
only been waiting for this act of acquiescence, iinmedi- 
ately Jeanne's whole body was subjected to the influ- 
ence of the divine action. She felt a sort of secret 
fermentation in her frame similar to that of new wine ; 
life-giving heat boiled and burned within her like an 
inward fire. And then a profound calm filled her being, 
removing all agitation except the awe-stricken tremor 
of her soul which still trembled at what had just taken 
place. She had an intuition that the Blessed Virgin 
was contemplating her ; and she seemed to hear a voice 
saying with imperious sweetness : " Stand up ! Stand 
up ! " At that moment the Abbe' Sire went up the 
altar steps. 

The young girl, bewildered and hesitating, raised her 
heart in supplicating enquiry towards God. 

" Lord ! dearest Lord ! what is this I feel ? It 
must be a dream from heaven ! perhaps it is only an 
illusion ! What shaU I do ? What shall I do ? Must 
I get up and go through this crowd ? " . . . 

And while she asked for an answer from on high 
to her increasing perplexity, the officiating • priest pro- 
nounced the first phrase of the Creed : — " Credo in 
wvwni Deum Patrum omnipoteniem." 

'' Credo ! I believe ! " It was the word she wanted. 
" Credo ! I believe ! " It was the feeling she needed. 


" Credo ! I believe ! " It was the act slie must ac- 
complish. . . . And then it was that Jeanne stood 
upright, and that an electric thrill went through the 

She got out of her little carriage, and making a few 
steps forward, went and knelt at the rails of the 
sanctuary. I was near her and heard her sobs. . . . 
The tears sprang to my own eyes, and I quite forgot all 
about my philosophy. 

(We must here add, so as not to lead our readers into 
error, that the Abb^ Sire had in no way been convoked 
by the family of Mile, de Fontenay, who were not even 
acquainted with him, and that the coincidences which 
we imagined to have been sought after and prepared by 
human influence, were absolutely fortuitous, and had 
been disposed by the hand of God.) 


There rose a sort of suppressed tumult and a re- 
strained agitation in that prayerful assembly. 

Joseph de Fontenay, who was serving the Mass, 
hearing a vague rumour of whispered exclamations, and 
becoming aware of an extraordinary movement in the 
congregation, of which he ignored the cause, turned 
suddenly round to impose silence, and remind those 
present by a sign that they were in the House of God, 
. . . but what were his feelings when he caught 
sight of his sister, his beloved sister Jeanne, walking 
towards the altar rails and falling on her knees before 
them. . . . His emotion was so great that he could 


hardly continue the responses to the different prayers 
of the Holy Sacrifice. 

Jeanne remained on her knees during the Credo, the 
Offertory, and the Elevation. . . , Irresistible tears, 
tears of ineffable sweetness, such as she had never be- 
fore shed in aU her life, streamed down her face which 
was hidden in her hands. 

Having communicated at the previous Mass, she 
withdrew when the faithful approached the Holy Table, 
and returned to where her invalid chair was standing. 
There she knelt on a prie-Dieu, advanced for her by the 
trembling hand of one of the congregation. 

Such, however, were the devotional habits of her 
family, such was, also, the religious awe of all, in the 
presence of the work of God on His creature, that no 
one bent towards Jeanne, not even her mother, to en- 
quire what had happened. The general feeling seemed 
to be that a consecrated minister of the Lord was the 
proper person to penetrate the mystery of the divinie 

The Abbe de Musy, being informed of Mile, de Fon- 
tenay's extraordinary state, hastened to arrive. 

" What is it ? " he whispered. " What has happened ? 
Are you cured ? " 

Everyone guessed the sense of the questions asked, 
everyone expected to see the priest and the mother 
brighten with delight at the young girl's answer. But, 
on the contrary, their faces became overclouded and 
anxious, M. de Musy went silently back to the upper 
church to resume his devotions, and doubt was upper- 
most in every heart. The reason of it all was, that 
Jeanne, suffocating with emotion, was unable to articu- 


late one single word in answer to the questions put to 
her. Her voice failed her, and she could no more get a 
sound from between her lips, than if she had been, like 
Zachary in the temple, stricken dumb by contact with 
the Supernatural. 

The Abbe Sire's Mass was over, yet stm Jeanne 
remained absorbed in adoration, and motionless as a 
statue of Prayer. All eyes were fixed on her, in eager 

At last she rose once more, and slowly making the 
sign of the cross, turned a long look on the altar which 
she seemed to leave with regret. Then, amidst the 
unutterable emotion of the faithful, she crossed the 
Crypt. Entering the long passage that leads to the 
outside, and seeing an empty space before her, she 
sprang forward and ran down it, looking perfectly trans- 
figured. But, as it wiU be remembered, the outside 
door was shut and locked by order, and suddenly stop- 
ped by this obstacle, Jeanne came back to the Crypt. 

A respectful hedge, that even her mother did not 
dare to pass, was formed before her steps. Joseph 
alone, in a burst of brotherly feeling, ran towards her 
and pressed her in his arms. 

" Oh ! sister ! My dear sister ! " 

But Jeanne's heart turned towards the priest who 
had been miraculously cured like herself, who had ac- 
companied her to Lourdes, and who had encouraged her 
for so many months to believe and to hope. In passing 
before the writer of these pages she said : 

" I should like to see the Abb6 de Musy." 

I ran up the stairs leading to the Basilica as quickly 
as I could. 


"Come down!" said I to M. de Musy. "Mile, de 
Fontenay is asking for you." 

He hurried down. 

" Ah ! Father," she cried, " I doubt no longer. I am 
cured !" 

" Very well," replied he. " Then follow the secret 
counsel of your heart, and obey the inspirations of the 
Blessed Virgin." 


Jeanne then directed her steps towards the place 
where she had been touched and cured by the all-power- 
ful right hand of her God and Saviour. Everyone 
asked as they made way before her : 

" What is she going to do ? "What is she going to 

What she did was to take hold of the handle of her 
invalid chair and realise to the letter those words of 
the Gospel: Tolle grabatum iuum et vade: "Take up 
thy bed and walk ". 

Some good-natured persons wanted to help her by 
pushing the carriage from behind; but Joseph cried, 
" No, no ; let her alone !" And she started on her way. 

She went out of the Crypt, along the corridors, across 
the esplanade of the Basilica, and on to the high road, 
surrounded by her family shedding tears of joy ! And 
her family at that moment was all of us, and all the 
crowd of piously-excited people gathering round her, 
and increasing every minute. She was our sister, our 

Delighted, yet with eyes modestly bent down, feeling 
at one and the same time the glory of the grace received 



and the confusion of being the centre of such a grand 
scene, the young girl went down the road with a firm 

But now she noticed that she had forgotten in the 
Holy Place, Pius the Ninth's rosary, the rosary which 
had been the companion of her illness, and was now 
rendered still more precious by the remembrance of the 
Miracle. When she had suddenly stood up, it had 
fallen on the ground by the pillar. 

Her cousin, Mile, de Fontenay, de Sommans, ran back 
immediately to look for it, and they stopped to wait for 
her. Jeanne turned towards the August Temple, knelt 
down with her clasped hands on the handle of the in- 
valid chair, and recited aloud the Virgin's prayer : 
" Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee . . ." 
All the multitude of people knelt down with her and 
repeated : " Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, 
poor sinners ". 

The rosary was found, and the happy procession con- 
tinued its way to where the road branches off towards 
the Grotto. 

Now it happened that the Eeverend Father Semp^, 
who was then Superior of the Missionaries, had consi- 
dered it necessary to stretch padlocked chains across 
the road, day and night. These chains permitted foot- 
passengers to walk on the pathways on either side, but 
carriages were stopped by them until a permission from 
himself or from one of the Fathers removed the obstacle 
for some sick or favoured person. That formality, of 
which the execution was sometimes complicated by the 
absence of the guardito, frequently resulted in the sick 
and suffering being forced to wait some time ip their 


conveyances before they could reach the Grotto or the 

The Abbe de Musy thought instinctively of this 
circumstance, for he had himself been inconvenienced 
by it the previous year, as well as Mile, de Fontenay 
on the preceding days. He ran by a short cut to the 
residence of the Missionaries, got the key, and opened 
the great padlock himself: so that when Jeanne arrived, 
puUing her chair after her and followed by a crowd of 
people, she saw the heavy links of the iron chain lying 
on the ground before her. 

Then the Abbd de Musy, suddenly remembering the 
circumstance of the Feast of St. Peter-in- Bonds, and of 
the words he had uttered from the altar to the sick girl, 
stretched on her bed of pain, cried with an accent 
of hosanna : " You can pass ! you can pass now ! The 
chains are fallen." And Jeanne passed. 

At that moment Jeanne was unlike herself. Her 
whole frame was animated with mysterious strength. 
Her chest was expanded and palpitating — her head was 
thrown back by a gesture inexpressibly noble — her face, 
formerly so pale,, was bright with the colours of health. 
Doubtless, it was the first respirations of a new life, the 
coursing of rich new blood in the once exhausted veins ; 
but before all and above all, it was the divine reflection 
of the light from on high, that the luminous hand of 
the Queen of Heaven had left on this daughter of the 
children of men. 

So far from being exhausted, her supernatural vigour 
increased. After having trampled under foot the fallen 
chains, the young girl, like an escaped steed, hastened 
her steps and began running, dragging after her, like a 


triumphal car, the sort of bed upon wheels, where, a 
few moments before, all the energies of her youth had 
been held captive and motionless. She galloped along, 
weeping, laughing, sometimes giving sudden jerks to 
the little carriage, and playing, so to speak, in the midst 
of the Miracle, like a child playing beneath the caressing 
eyes of her mother. She had nothing on her feet but 
her invalid slippers, and at every five or six steps one 
of them fell off. Then she stooped with supple agility, 
seized the flying slipper, put it on again, and resumed 
her rapid course. 

Near the Piscina she stopped, and her brother Joseph 
brought her a glass of the miraculous water that had for- 
merly sprung up at the command of her Benefactress. 

But hardly had she drunk, when a priest with white 
hair seized the glass, which in his eyes had become a 
relic, and took possession of it with so much eagerness 
that we do not think we calumniate the good Abbe 
Bouvier very deeply by suspecting that the guardians 
of the Grotto never saw that glass again. 

Jeanne then ran on till she arrived before the Eocks 
of Massabiella. There was an enormous wax taper in 
the magazine of the Missionaries : Joseph took it and 
presented it to his sister ; and it was thus, bearing the 
taper in one hand and pulling along her little carriage 
with the other, that she made her triumphal entrance 
into the Grotto of the Apparitions. She threw herself 
on her knees and raised her heart in silent gratitude to 
the Blessed Virgin. 

But the need of a public thanksgiving was felt by 
all : Jeanne looked round for the Abbe de Musy to lead 
the Magnificat or the Te Deum. 


" Do you see him anywhere in the crowd ? " she 
whispered to me. 

"No, Mademoiselle, he is not there, neither do I 
think he will come." 

I felt that the humble priest had withdrawn himself 
from the general rejoicing for fear of an ovation ; and 
that if he had helped in time of trouble, he would refuse 
to take part in the glorious reward. He had probably 
gone to thank Our Lady of Lourdes in the obscurity of 
the Crypt or the solitude of his chamber. 

An ecclesiastic then came forward and said : 

"I am a priest of the diocese of Autun, in right of 
which I lift up my voice to praise the Lord : Magnificat 
anima Tnea Dominuin ! * 

The canticle of the Virgin broke forth beneath the 
rocky roof of the Grotto and was taken up by the 
multitude outside with indescribable enthusiasm. A 
decade of the rosary was then recited for the sick and 
afflicted who stUl awaited their cure. 


Two sick persons, in fact, were there present: the 
Countess du Boulay, in her invalid chair ; and the half- 
paralysed priest still painfully leaning on his knotty 

Poor woman, who had prayed and implored, with such 
impatient fervour and such tenacious hope, to be healed 
of her disease ! 

* That priest was the Abbe Bonnamour, professor at the Little Semi- 
nary of Autun. 


Poor priest, old and indigent, who so much needed 
health and strength for the exercise of his sacred min- 
istry ! 

My heart ached at sight of them, and a shadow passed 
over my joy. 

I only waited for the last Ave Maria, to go and speak 
to Mme. du Boulay. 

" Courage, Madame ! Let us hope that Our Lady of 
Lourdes, who has this morning so worthily inaugurated 
the glorious feast of her Assumption, will not allow it 
to pass without according you a similar grace ! " 

" Ah ! Monsieur Lasserre," she said, as she pressed 
my hand in hers, " I am not thinking of myself ! I am 
too happy ! I am overflowing with joy ! Only just 
look at Mile, de Fontenay's radiant face ! . . : When 
I saw her yesterday, so young, and yet more infirm than 
old age, as infirm as I am myself, I reaUy could not 
think of myself, and I prayed to the Blessed Virgin to 
cure her rather than me." Then she turned towards 
her protestant maid, who was so devoted to her, and 
said : — 

" See, my dear girl, see what the Blessed Virgin can 

" It is true ! " replied the woman, much disturbed. 
. . . " Such miracles are unknown in our religion ! " 

'' Who knows," resumed Mme. du Boulay, " if the 
Blessed Virgin is not waiting for your conversion before 
she grants me my cure 1 " 

The excellent waiting-woman stammered, hesitated, 
wept, and did not know what to answer. . . . 

" Lord, enlighten her understanding ! " 

Then I went towards the unfortunate priest of the 


diocese of Agen, the Abb^ Cabane. . . . Great tears 
were rolling down his cheeks, his face was flushed, his 
breathing oppressed. He stopped me abruptly as I was 
about to speak. 

" I am suffocating with happiness ! " he murmured in 
a trembling voice ; " I taste something of the delights 
of heaven ! . . . How beautiful, how beautiful it 
is ! ... I wish everybody might be cured except 
me!" . . . 

While listening to such sentiments, I understood 
better than ever that our bodily eyes only perceive in 
this world the deceitful appearance of things, and that 
the marvellous splendours of the real and spiritual life, 
being all interior, are hidden from our gaze. Truly, 
the grace of God had descended in great and admirable 
abundance on the young girl who had just been drawing 
her invalid-chair after her in triumph along the road. 
Truly, that multitude of people did well in glorifying 
the Lord for such a manifest miracle. Truly, we act 
rightly in relating it to-day, to perpetuate the memory 
of it among Christian people ; but, in the judgment of 
the spirit, and in real superiority, was not that invisible 
grace, which had secretly descended on those two souls 
lost in the crowd, incomparably greater and more ad- 
mirable ? That sweet and powerful grace which, pene- 
trating to the very essence of the human heart — that 
heart, alas ! so naturally disposed to selfishness — filled 
it with such noble, such disinterested, such divine 
sentiments ! 



How the rest of the morning and afternoon was 
passed it would be impossible to tell. Except the de- 
tails which during those amazing hours were indelibly 
fixed in our mind by the impression of the miracle it- 
self, everything is effaced from the misty horizon of our 

I remember only that Mile, de Fontenay, thoroughly 
cured as she was, wished still for something that she 
seemed to consider as the seal of the celestial favour 
she had received. She wanted the blessing of Mgr. 
Peyramale, and hastened into Lourdes to get it. 

The Cur^ of the Apparitions spread over her his 
venerable hands. " Your faith has saved you ! Go and 
doubt no more ! " 

Then turning towards Joseph, whose youthful face 
beamed with delight, he took him in his powerful arms 
and pressed him to his breast. 

" Happy fellow ! " he cried. " Did I not tell you how 
it would be ? " 

He consecrated Jeanne to wear for a year, from that 
date, the colours of the Blessed Virgin : blue and white. 
(It will be remembered that she had had her dress pre- 
pared at Autun.) And in doing so, the venerable 
patriarch of Lourdes, filled with the thoughts of the 
great Assumption, addressed these grave and simple 
words to the resuscitated girl : — 

" My daughter, try to lead a holy life, so that at your 
death it may be said of you as it was of the Blessed 


Virgin: — ' Assumpta est in cmlis, she is ascended into 
Heaven ! ' " 

It has been the custom at Lourdes ever since the 
origin of the Pilgrimage, for the town to make its solemn 
procession to the Grotto on the day of the Assumption, 
after Vespers. On the day in question, Mgr. Peyramale 
was seen for the first and last time invested with the 
cappa magna of the Eoman prelate. He had an intense 
dislike to anything that attracted general attention 
towards himself, and the pompous vestments were 
embarrassing to his love of simplicity. But at such 
a time he could not resist the desire of one of his 
faithful friends who had remarked to him : — 

" In honour of the miracle, and to please your parish- 
ioners, you must put on your vestments of honour 

The Abb^ de Musy walked beside the Cur(^ of Lourdes. 
In the ranks of the procession and the midst of the 
Children of Mary, Jeanne Marie de Fontenay had 
taken her place. She wore her white dress and blue 
sash and advanced quietly amidst the legion of virgins, 
singing with her companions : 

Un souffle de gr^ce 
Pousse vers ce lieu ; 
Ce souffle qui passe 
Est celiii de Dieu ! 
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! 
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! 


About five o'clock that evening I was standing near 
the Grotto, when a considerable group of pilgrims who 


knew that I had been present in the morning at the 
miraculous cure, gathered round to interrogate me and 
ask me to tell them all about it. They were anxious to 
hear an eye-witness who could say : " That is what I 
saw myself ! " 

Having answered all their questions, I withdrew to 
seek a little solitude after the emotions of the day. 
A stranger then detached himself from the crowd 
and with some hesitation approached me. He was 
an Englishman. 

"Sir," he said, "I am a tourist travelling in the 
Pyrenees to admire." . . . 

" And you find yourself in a country worthy of ad- 
miration, do you not ? " 

"Very beautiful! Very splendid! But I came to 
Lourdes as an unbeliever ready to sneer and mock at 


"Well, sir, on arriving the day before yesterday I 
read the history of the events which had determined this 
Pilgrimage. And now I have just been listening to you 
relating the miraculous cure with which the whole town 
is ringing to-day. I feel that I am beginning to turn, 
that a change is taking place in me. Oh ! tell me, sir, 
what I ought to do ? " 

" Why, turn altogether ! Yes 1 altogether : the hour 
of complete conversion is come." 

But it was easier said than done. The Englishman, 
who was Catholic by birth, had been for many years a 
stranger to religion, and though he was shaken by the 
evidence of facts, he still endeavoured by some few 
hostile arguments to escape the grasp of the grace of 


God, which had seized him and was drawing him towards 
the Truth. I tried to make him understand that Pro- 
vidence itself had attracted him to the Grotto of the 
Apparitions, and rendered him the almost direct witness 
of the miracle due to the intercession of Mary on pur- 
pose to bring him hack to his first faith. 

" But if I make up my mind to follow your advice," 
he said at last, " to what priest can I open my heart ? " 

"To the one you prefer: they can all receive the 
avowal of your faults and absolve you from them. 
. . . However, it is always preferable, even at the 
Holy Tribunal, to seek the direction of those ministers 
of God who appear the best and the most enlightened. 
Go to the Cure of Lourdes, or the Abbe de Musy, or 
the Abb^ Sire." . . . 

" The Abbe de Musy ? " he interrupted ; " the one they 
say has also been miraculously cured, and who said 
mass for that young girl ? " 

" The same." 

" Ah ! His sermon to-day in the Basilica, where I 
entered by chance and out of curiosity, seemed to me 
very eloquent." 

" Would you like me to introduce you to him ? " 

He accepted. As we were entering Lourdes, we 
crossed a passer-by whom I recognised. 

" You see that tall man ? " I said to the Englishman. 

" Ye^," he replied, a little surprised. 

" Well," I continued, " that man was converted this 
day last year, after the Abb^ de Musy's miraculous 
cure. . . . He went alone along the road we are 
following, and he went where you are going." 

The Englishman was much struck. He felt as though 


surrounded by the mysterious action of the Super- 
natural. We arrived at the Abbe de Musy's lodgings 
and asked for him. He came out of the little drawing- 
room, and supposing that we were simply making a call, 
he said : 

" Alas ! I am very sorry, but I am with someone 
whom I cannot leave. We shall see each other again, 
this evening or to-morrow." 

" No ! no ! " I cried hastily, " no delay ! I am not 
come to day, Monsieur I'AhM, simply for the pleasure of 
seeing you; and it is not I who wish for an interview. 
. . . Think of this day last year, the same Feast of 
the Assumption. The day which commenced, for you, 
by a physical cure, terminated for another by a cure of 
a higher order. Do you miss nothing to-day ?" . . . 

Then pointing to the Englishman who stood a little 
behind, anxious and agitated, and seeming to struggle 
with himself, I added : 

" There is your evening harvest ! " 

And I left them together. 

The next day but one, at the altar before which 
Jeanne had been cured, the Englishman received Holy 
Communion at the hands of the Abb6 de Musy. 

And a few days later, also kneeling at the foot of the 
Holy Tabernacle, the Countess du Boulay's maid abjured 
Protestantism. Her name, Madame Lef^vre, is written 
in the registers of the Pilgrimage. 


Jeanne could not make up her mind to leave Lourdes ; 
she wanted to make a noveno of gratitude there. 


The happy news had been carried by telegrams to 
Autun, where her father, her family, the good Superior, 
and their friends received it with transports of joy : to 
the chateau of Dammartin where the Viscountess de 
Froissard Brossia sang her Nunc dimittis . . . Henry 
de Pontenay, who had not been able to go with his 
sister, started immediately to rejoin her at Lourdes, 
desiring to see her for himself without loss of time and 
join with her in thanking the Mother of God who had 
granted their prayers. 

The ceremony of the benediction of the bells of the 
Basilica took place on the morrow of Jeanne's cure and 
attracted an immense crowd of spectators. His Emi- 
nence Cardinal Donnet, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and 
their Lordships, Mgr. Lang^nieux, Bishop of Tarbes, 
Mgr. D'Outremont, Bishop of Agen, Mgr. Epivent, 
Bishop of Aire, wished to make the acquaintance of 
the young girl healed by a miracle. She went to see 
them at the Bishops' Cottage* and answered all their 

During the course of that week, several other miracles, 
equally touching and amazing, took place at Lourdes ; i* 
indeed, that Octave of the Assumption in 1874 might 
be said to have brought back the gospel times. Those 
who had been favoured by a miracle came and went in 
the midst of the crowd ; they had but one heart and 

* Concerning the Bishops' Cottage, see Appendix, Note III. 

■j- Ang^le Lesbroussarl, de Valompierre (Oise), Marie Labonne, de 
Montpazier (Dordogne), a girl of fifteen, brought to Lourdes by her 
father, and Mr. P. Hughes, a banker of Toronto, Canada, suddenly- 
recovered their health. 


one spirit, and that little comer of the earth was, as it 
were, bathed in rays of heavenly light. 


Towards the last days of August, a group of five or 
six persons entered the church of Paray-le-Monial. A 
graceful young girl of firm straight figure and supple 
movements went first. Her blue dress, fastened round 
the waist by a cord and tassels, seemed to be a gala 
toilet, and her whole expression was that of a cahn 

She knelt before the Sanctuary, bowed her head and 
became absorbed in earnest prayer. . . . Her mother, 
her two brothers, and a maid-servant bent with iq- 
firmities had taken their places on chairs behind her. 

While they were thus prostrate, an elderly gentlemaUj 
who had come to Paray in the last train, opened the 
church door and advanced up the nave. On perceiving 
the young girl he silently raised his hands to heaven in 
a burst of unutterable gratitude. His wife and sons 
remained motionless, although they were strongly 
tempted to go and embrace him. 

The young girl, however, was so absorbed in prayer 
that she had not heard his step. He therefore quietly 
went up and tremblingly knelt beside her. 

Who can tell the intensity of Jeanne's feelings when 
she saw him thus praying at her side ? She leant her 
head on her good father's shoulder as though over- 
whelmed with happiness, and began to weep. Her 
father's burning tears fell on her brow, and thus they 


remained some little time in gratitude and thanksgiving 
before God. But how exquisite must have been the 
■ meeting of that family all united once more after the 
miracle, in that blessed Temple that men have dedi- 
cated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ ! 


Jeanne has resumed the usual current of her life. 
Six months after her cure, in giving an official account 
of her state, she says : — " Not only have I never been 
ill again, but my general health gets stronger every day. 
As for my inward complaint, the Blessed Virgin cured 
it instantaneousli/, and since the 15th of August, I have 
been able to stand up for hours together, and walk and 
run like other people. I can often be seen walldng 
along the streets of the town ; and I am proud and 
happy to wear the livery of the Blessed Virgin, and 
proclaim her mercy aloud. For the last three months 
I have been nursing my mother, who is ill, and in con- 
sequence have had, at the same time, to superintend the 
house. My family, the doctors, and the strangers who 
come to see me, are amazed at my robust health ; they 
never could have thought it possible for me to bear so 
much fatigue. How thankful I should be if these 
details might console the sick and suffering, and give 
them entire confidence in the compassionate Virgin of 
Lourdes ! I suffered so much and for so long — I had 
so many physical and moral weaknesses, that, feeling 
myself now full of health and strength, I should like to 
bring all those who suffer to the feet of her who has so 
perfectly cured me !" 


Mile, de Fontenay walks a good deal.. Her frame 
seems inaccessible to fatigue, and nothiag remains to 
remind her of the inward wound of which the disastrous 
effects had reduced her, for so many years, to the 
state of an infirm or paralytic person. All the ills 
• which were cured in her were perfectly cured, and yet 
sometimes she suffers from violent neuralgia and sick 
headache, which the doctors she has consulted have 
been powerless to remove. 

" I know what causes these pains in my head," said 

" What ?" 

" When I bathed in the Piscina, it was not thought 
prudent, because of the thickness of my hair, to put 
my head under the water as well as my body. I am 
persuaded that that worldly preoccupation, and that 
want of faith on one point, was an obstacle on that same 
point to the grace of God. Therefore, while I make it 
my duty to seek to cure my headaches by natural 
means, I bear with resignation those consequences of 
my doubt which serve to strengthen my faith still 
more ; and I willingly accept the little trial that God 
has seen fit to send me in the place of the great trial 
from which it pleased Him to release me." 


Mgr. Lang^nieux, bishop of Tarbes, has given permis- 
sion for a commemorative stone to be let into the stone 
floor of the Grotto of Lourdes, bearing the following 
inscription : — 


15th August, 1874. 

On the Feast of the Assumption 

Of the Most Blessed Virgin Maey, 

Mlle. Jeanne-Makie de Fontenay 


Diocese of Autun 
was cured. 

"Go, and as thou hast believed so be it done unto thee. And the 
servant was healed at the same hour." 

— St. Matthew, mii. 13. 

There is in the Cathedral of Autun a lateral chapel, 
more frequented than any other; indeed, it is, in some 
sort, the religious centre of the diocese. It is called the 
Bishops' Chapel, and beneath its pavement sleep the 
bishops who have succeeded each other in the episcopal 
chair of Autun. All round the walls are black marble 
.slabs let in, bearing engraved on their surface the names 
of these successors of the Apostles. . . . 

In the midst of those funereal mementos, a large 
white marble ex-voto stands out in prominent relief. 
It is placed there to remind the reader, not of those 
overtaken by death, but of one miraculously restored 
to life. Three years of trial having satisfactorily proved 
beyond all doubt the permanent character of the mira- 
culous favour accorded by the Blessed Virgin to Mlle. 
de Fontenay, the Bishop of Autun gave the necessary 
authorisation by episcopal ordinance, for the erection of 
the ex-voto. We here reproduce the memorable in- 
scription engraved upon it : — 



For Ever. 

The 15th of every Month at half-past eight in the 

MORNING, A Mass of Thanksgiving, 

To Mary Immaculate, 

In gratitude for the recovery 

Of Mlle. Jeanne-Marie de Fontenay, 

Obtained at Lourdes, 

The 15th August, 1874. 

In pious remembrance of Monseigneur de Les^leuc, 
Bishop of Autun. 

This Foundation, 

Accepted by the Chapter of the Cathedral, 

Has been .authorised by an Episcopal Ordinance 

Of the 2nd August, 1877. 

With the condition 

That it shall be announced every year. 

On the Sunday before the Assumption, 

At the two principal Masses, 

And shall be said 

In the Bishops' Chapel. 


Jeanne's feeUngs of eternal gratitude are shared by 
aU her famUy ; which, though already religious, became 
after the miracle Still more profoundly Christian. 

Soon after receiving their daughter a second time 
from the hands of God, M. and Mme. de Fontenay ex- 
perienced the tearful joy of offering to the Sovereign 


Master a precious jewel from their treasure, a ripe fruit 
from their garden. In the month of November of that 
same year, 18*74, their youngest son, whom we have 
seen serving the mass of the miracle, was invested at 
Saint Acheul with the habit of novice in the Company 
of Jesus. To-day he is called Father Joseph de Fon- 
tenay, and has had the glory of being expelled by the 
founders of our liberties. " Blessed are they," says our 
Lord, " who suffer persecution for justice' sake." 

As for Jeanne, she often went back to Lourdes to 
thank her Benefactress and receive Mgr. Peyramale's 
blessing. The Cure of the Apparitions had become her 
adviser, her supreme director, her spiritual father. 

Alas ! There came a day when she found him no 
more and when, if she desired to ask for his help and 
his prayers, she had to kneel at a tomb.* 

One of Mile, de Fontenay's greatest pleasures is to 
employ her newly-recovered strength in the service of 
the sick. At one of the last Pilgrimages she passed two 
or three nights in the train, getting out at every station 
and going from carriage to carriage to minister to the 
necessities of the sick pUgrims ; and on arriving at 
Lourdes, she still continued on that miraculous soil her 
laborious office of Sister of Charity. 

At the moment of writing the last lines of this narra- 

* It was a terrible blow to her when sbe beard of the death of the 
Servant of Mary, with whose cruel sufferings she was well acquainted. 
" The martyrdom of his last years had attained its extreme limit." 
She wrote us, "I am angry with myself for weeping. . . . I ought 
rather to sing the Te Bewm for his deliverance. But will Lourdes 
still be Lourdes without him ? He was the depositary of the actual 
traditions. With him one felt oneself at home. His blessing brought 
happiness with it ; his counsels were joyfully followed. "... 


tive, we have just met her at Lourdes, during the anni- 
versary month of her deliverance. Helping those who 
suffer as she once suffered, bathing them piously in the 
miraculous water, experiencing the inexpressible joy of 
seeing some of them cured as she was once cured her- 
self, she puts into practice the sacred precept : " Show 
to others the mercy that God has shown to thee ".* 

Les Brbtoux, 8th September, 1882. 
On the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. 

* See Appendix, Note IV. 


To M. Henri Lasserre, Paris. 

Beaunb, 1st Becemher, 1877. 


Madame Guerrier and myself have read the 
manuscript you were good enough to send us, and in 
which you relate the circumstances of her cure on the 
16th of September of this year, at the Sanctuary of 

We have both much pleasure in witnessing to the 
truth of your narration, which is, on every point, per- 
fectly exact. All the facts you describe are true, true 
in their every detail, and true in their general bearings. 
Eeeeive, Monsieur, the assurance of our distinguished 

Ed. Gueeeiee. Justine Gueekiee. 

n^e Biver. 

* This narrative was printed separately, a few years ago, under the 
title of " The Miracle of the 16th of September, 1877," as an extract 
from the second volume we were then preparing, and which we now 



Towards the month of August, 1874, the Canon 
Martignon, former Cure and Arch-priest of Algiers, ar- 
rived at Lourdes. He was a man about forty years of 
age, and had fallen iU. on the African soil, of an affec- 
tion of the chest and throat, by which he had lost 
his voice. Having heard of the miracles accomplished 
at Lourdes, he had crossed the Mediterranean and 
reached the town of Mary, in the hope that he also 
might obtain a part in those signal graces. He knelt 
and prayed at the Eocks of Massabiella, he bathed in 
the Piscina, and drank at the miraculous spring : but 
the cure so fervently desired descended not from Heaven. 

" Come ! Come ! " said he to himself. " ISTo dis- 
couragement! A few short prayers are not enough; 
we must knock often if we want the door opened to us. 
Let us make a Noveno ! " 

The noveno was begun and ended without any visible 
amelioration in his health, but the Canon's faith and 
hope remained unshaken. 

" I will make a noveno of weeks," said he. 

And he settled at Lourdes for a stay of sixty-three 
days. On the sixty-fourth day, however, finding himself 
in exactly the same state, he went for a short time to Pau, 
hoping that the mildness of the climate might give him 
relief. But soon he reproached himself with his flight 


from Lourdes, as a weakness and a want of confidence. 
Besides, in the secret of his heart he felt an indefectible 
presentiment, that sooner or later the Blessed Virgin 
would yield to his supplications and answer his prayers. 

Animated by that thought, he hastened back to the 
privileged Grotto, and established himself in the town 
in a less temporary manner, taking root there, so to 
speak, from that time. 

Sick himself, he constituted himself the sick-nurse of 
others ; and such pilgrims as made a stay of any length 
at Lourdes at the epoch of which we are treating, will 
surely remember having remarked there a priest, still 
young, with a long fair beard, a bright soft eye, a dis- 
tinguished air, and a tall frail figure, thin and with 
narrow shoulders, a little bent with suffering. A priest 
who led the blind, gave his arm to the halt and maimed 
to bring them to the Piscina, and employed the remains 
of his lost voice in consoling the afflicted. That priest 
was the Abb^ Martignon. 

"If the Blessed Virgin does not grant my prayers 
this time," said he, smiling, " I am resolved to make a 
noveno of years, and after that, a noveno of centuries. 
Then I will stop." 

He had the joy and consolation of witnessing the 
miraculous cure of several of the sick persons whose 
guide and support he had been ; but for himself, though 
he felt a slight relief from time to time, he did not 
receive the supernatural gi'ft so ardently desired, of a 
complete cure of his disease. 

Did he then begin to have an intuition of some secret 
reluctance on the part of the Blessed Virgin to grant 
him the grace he solicited ? We cannot tell. But it 


almost seemed that if his faith was still the same, and 
his charity ever increasing, the virtue of hope was turnr 
ing little by little into the virtue of resignation, or to 
speak more exactly, his hope was adjourned. Happy 
in being able to remain in that corner of the earth 
where the Queen of Heaven had rested her feet ; con- 
tented in breathing the sacred atmosphere, and. in going 
every day to pray before the sacred Grotto, he de- 
ferred the noveno of years and centuries, of which he 
had smilingly spoken, and said to us one day : 

" I stay here at the orders of Our Lady of Louides. 
She will grant my prayers when she pleases. I am like 
a person sitting in an ante-room, and waiting for an 
audience. My turn will come. I shall have my hour 
or my minute, and I shall not let it escape." 

He waited for that minute or that hour during three 
years. But after the expiration of those three years, he 
was interiorly inspired to knock again at the celestial 
door ; and in the course of the year 1877, he resolved 
to make, in the month of September, a new noveno that 
should terminate on the Feast of Our Lady of Seven 
Dolours. He had not, however, observed that, the Feast 
being a movable one, the first day of the noveno would 
coincide with the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and 
that, in consequence, his prayer would extend in a cer- 
tain way from the birth of Mary to the last sigh of 
Jesus, from the cradle of the Mother to. the tomb of 
the Son.* 

* The Feast of Our Lady of Seven Dolours is celebrated the third 
Sunday in September. And that year, 1877, the third Sunday being 
the 16th September, it fell on the ninth day after that of the Nativity, 
which is on the 8th of September. 



Why, then, did not Mary immediately, grant the 
prayers and wishes of the Abbe Martignon ? Why had 
she not restored health, strength and voice to one who 
loved her with such iilial tenderness and spoke of her 
with such eloquence ? Perhaps there was some hidden 
reason for it. Might it be our privilege to suspect the 
nature of that secret cause and seek the solution of it 
in our Mother's heart ? If the Abbe Martignon had 
been cured, he would have left the neighbourhood of the 
Grotto and resumed his sacred ministry in some town 
of Algeria ; but being ill he remained at Lourdes and 
accomplished his admirable office of mercy, in which he 
edified those who saw him by the grand preaching of 
his example infinitely more than he could ever have 
done by the most eloquent sermons from his lips. 

Therefore we imagine, that if the Virgin did not 
immediately grant the cure so much desired, it was be- 
cause she would not suffer such a servant to depart too 
soon. The service of God lost nothing, it seems to us, 
by this arrangement, and the Servant of God lost noth- 
ing either. When God refuses to grant our prayers, or 
keeps us waiting for some temporal grace we have asked 
Him for, it is because, instead of the little quantity of 
dross we have desired. He is preparing us a hundredfold 
more in pure gold either in this world or in the next. 

Besides, it was not long before, in his zeal and ardent 
charity, the Abb6 Martignon took a fresh mission on 
himself, which was the natural result of his self- 
imposed functions of consoler of the afflicted. 


From the commencement of his sojourn at Lourdes, 
he had met a man whose sufferings and trials exceeded 
the ordinary sum of human afflictions. He had been 
prominently brought forward in the most considerable 
religious event of our times ; he had been distinguished 
by the incredible honour of receiving a message from 
Heaven, and accomplishing the divine commands in 
spite of every obstacle. But the Blessed Virgin, desir- 
ing, doubtless, to prepare him a still higher place, had 
said, " I will show him how he must learn to suffer for 
love of me". And the most unexpected tribulations 
had then tortured his heroic heart. 

By a strange and striking contrast he was, at one and 
the same time, on Calvary and on Mount Thabor. While 
his name was famous in every Christian land, and while 
the great family of his Parish, whose beloved Father 
and Patriarch he was, prayed for blessings on him, he 
experienced from another quarter (especially of late 
years) the bitter pain of being misunderstood, neglected, 
and secretly persecuted in what was dearest to him, his 
zeal for the welfare of his people, and for the house of 
the Lord. Like the Cyrenian he carried the Cross, and 
his robust shoulders were torn and bleeding from the 
weight of the sacred burden. Around his sufferings, as 
once around those of his Master, many wagged their 
heads, and said : " Since he was Mary's instrument, let 
her deliver him and come to his help ". At the period 
of the Apparitions of the Mother of God at the Grotto 
of Lourdes, now nearly twenty years ago, he had prayed 
the Blessed Virgin to make roses blossom in the season 
of snows. But Our Lady of Lourdes, who in that same 
spot purposed to work such numberless miracles, had 


refused that particular one to the priest she had chosen, 
and had answered his request by the austere word 
"Penance ! " Eoses are not for the cold winter of this 
world. Mary reserves them for her elect, her servants, 
her friends, in the eternal Spring that succeeds to death. 
The illustrious Abbd Peyramale, the great Cure of 
Lourdes, the priest of the Immaculate Conception, had 
therefore been condemned to suffer. 

He understood it himself, and here we cannot 
resist quoting some of his own reflections. They 
treat of the dispositions of Providence in the ordering 
of trouble and Dolour. A pious person whose con- 
science he directed and who took note of his counsels 
with scrupulous care, has been good enough to lend us 
the little volume in which he had carefully noted the 
advice and instruction received from time to time at the 
Sacred Tribunal. It is easy to retrace in what he 
taught others the precepts and rules he must have 
applied to his own case every day of his life. Here 
are some of his sayings : — 

" Let us suffer with strength and courage, and even 
with joy, so as to insure our election, as Saint Paul 
says ! . . . Yes ! when a soul has been faithful, 
and the great God Who sounds the heart and reins, sees 
that He can depend upon that soul, never to abandon 
Him ; after having visited it by graces which are the 
forerunners of the severest trials. He hides Himself 
and gives it up a prey to its own personal weakness 
and misery; to annoyances, to desolation, to oppro- 
brium; sometimes even to slander, contempt and 

" Then let that soul learn to suffer and be still ; God 


is at hand : He will not lose sight of it, for He loves it. 
And yet, in vain wUl it seek Him, call Him, sigh for 
that unique Bridegroom who alone is its joy and 
delight. He appears deaf and dumb. It is His will 
to be sought for and pursued, and when you think 
you hold Him — He is gone ! . . . But, one day, 
like a child hidden behind a door and being sought by 
those he loves. He will open heaven to you with a smile, 
rejoicing at having forced you to acquire merits that 
you would have allowed to escape if you had had your 
own way." 

" When God sees a faithful and generous soul. His 
eye is always on it ; He reserves it for heaven and 
purposes to turn it into one of the most precious stones 
of the Eternal City. He employs the hammer and 
chisel to shape it, and in spite of its cries, He subjects 
it to a cruel discipline. If it remains faithful to Him 
in the midst of so many afBictions, He rewards it by 
increasing them; if it shows itself still constant and 
generous, He weighs it down with other and greater 
trials ; and if it continues to persevere, and instead of 
abandoning Him, exhibits its readiness to accept every- 
thing, how does He testify His satisfaction ? He sends 
it tortures that are sometimes intolerable, and such as 
He reserves for heroic hearts alone : that is His highest 
reward. He treats the soul as He treated His Son Jesus, 
for He considers it as His own child, and He loves it 
too well not to lavish on it all that is most precious on 
earth: suffering, humiliation, and affliction. But in 
this chaos of trouble, the soul is united to God for all 
eternity. What should that tried, afflicted soul do ? 


Eeinember that God loves it and never voluntarily 
doubt Him for one single instant." 

Such was the man, such was the priest of whom the 
Abbe Martignon had been, for the last few years, the 
filial comforter and the unfailing friend. 

Another ecclesiastic seconded him in that noble work. 
The Abb^ Lafont, chaplain at the hospital of Tarbes, 
had been a friend of the Cure of the Apparitions from 
childhood. He was a man of God, filled with courage, 
ardour and faith, ready for every sacrifice and of im- 
movable fidelity. Efforts were made to estrange him 
from the Cure of Lourdes. It was said to him, " You will 
make yourself powerful enemies ! " " What ! " he cried, 
" give up Peyramale and betray him when he is per- 
secuted ! Never ! " . . . 

He passed humbly and simply the life he had devoted 
to Jesus Christ in the persons of the sick and poor : 
Christo in pauperibus. 

Monseigneur Peyramale, the Abb^ Lafont, and the 
Abb^ Martignon were three friends after God's own 


• It is not our intention to expose here the weight of 
sorrow beneath which succumbed the venerable priest, 
of whom Mgr. Langenieux in one of his letters addressed 
to him had said that " Our Lady of Lourdes had chosen 
Mm for her confident, her witness, and her apostle in 
the marvels of her Apparitions ".* 

* Letter from Mgr. Langenieux, Bisbop of Tarbes, dated the 22nd 
August, 1873. This letter is in our possession. 


We will simply recall to mind that when the Basilica 
of the Grotto, — enriched with gifts from all parts of the 
world — was finished, the Basilica which formed the goal 
of the processions demanded by the Blessed Virgin ; the 
Cur^ Peyramale undertook to rebuild the parish church 
which was to be their starting-point. He sank under 
the task without having been able to complete it. 

He had often spoken of his approaching death as a 
thing of necessity and a supreme sacrifice to be offered 
in the interests of the House of God. 

The works of the unfinished church were stopped 
when the roof was reached, for the help on which he 
had counted failed him, and the most amazing hostility 
had trammelled his efforts. 

" I shall not enter into the promised land," he would 
say sometimes, " I shall only see it from afar. I must 
die to ward off impending ruin. When I am gone 
every difficulty will be smoothed away. My death will 
pay all debts." 

These melancholy words brought the tears to his own 
eyes as well as to the eyes of those who listened to him 
and loved him. We had the sorrowful consolation of 
being present at his departure from this world, and we 
intend to relate, in the history of his life, how it pleased 
God to choose the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed 
Virgin as the day on which He opened to His servant 
the gates of Eternity. 

On the day.of the Nativity the Incomparable Virgin, 
whom the Office of the Immaculate Conception shows 
us as present at the Councils of the Most High, had 
appeared, shining with innocence and glory amongst the 
shadows of this world ; and on the day of the Nativity 


the Cure of Lourdes quitted those shadows to enter into 
the glory of- the heavenly country. Around Mgr. Pey- 
ramale's bed were grouped his brother, his relatives, his 
curates, his friends, and all those of his people who could 
obtain admission into the room of the Man of God. The 
intimate friend of the last few years, the Abbe Martignon, 
was there, in the midst of the weeping family, broken 
down with grief and thinking neither of himself, nor 
his niness, nor his cure, nor even of his Noveno to Our 
Lady of Seven Dolours, which, by a strange coincidence, 
he was going to begin that very day. 


After a long agony, Mgr. Peyramale breathed his last 
sigh upon earth, and yielded his immortal soul into the 
hands of God, leaving his faithful friend the good Canon 
of the African capital alone in the world. Not but what 
he still had a father in his venerable and beloved Arch- 
bishop of Algiers, Mgr. Lavigerie, but was he certain 
ever to see him again, and was he not too ill to under- 
take the journey ? ... At that hour of sorrow and 
solitude, his soul turned towards the invisible regions 
in which, henceforth, dwelt the Servant of Mary. And 
in raising his heart to the Comforter of the afHicted he 
recalled the projected noveno, and remembered that 
that day, the 8th of September, was precisely the first 
day of it. What then passed in his soul ? Kneeling 
beside the deathbed and holding the inanimate hand of 
the Cure of Lourdes in both his own, he remained a 
moment prostrate and silent. 


Then he rose and said to several of those present, the 
curates of the parish, the writer of these lines, and 
others : 

" I have just made the first prayer of my noveno to 
Our Lady of Seven Dolours. In asking for my cure 
beside these sacred remains, I conjure Our Lady of 
Lourdes to permit that on the ninth day our friend shall 
communicate the answer to me, himself, in her name." 

Then he added : 

" The choice that it has pleased God to make of the 
8th of September, to recall to himself the Cure of the 
Apparitions, is a sufficient authorisation for me to as- 
sociate my humble supplications with his memory." 

They asked the Abb4 Martignon what inscription 
should be engraved on the tomb of the Servant of Mary. . 
He replied through his tears : 

" Engrave these two verses from the Sacred Scriptures: 
— ' Domine, dilexi deaus domus tuw : Lord, I have loved 
the beauty of Thy house. Zelus domus tuae comedit me : 
The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.' The first 
text is the history of his life ; the second, the history of 
his death." 

The master has quitted the earth. What will be the 
fate of the two disciples, the two friends, the two priests, 
who remain here below in this valley of tears ? They 
look to heaven for help. Quid aspicietis in caelum, viri 
Galilei ? 

On the evening of the obsequies of Mgr. Peyramale, 
and after having been present at them, bathed in tears, 


his old friend, the Abb^ Lafont, came to see us, and 
said : 

" He is gone ! What will become of us now ? " 

It happened that on his return to Tarbes, the follow- 
ing day, the Abb6 Lafont, who was chaplain of the 
hospital there, was present at a great fire. The house 
called the Little Convent, in the rue Saint Louis, was in 
flames. He rushed forward to help to save the children, 
and remove the Blessed Sacrament to a place of safety, 
when he was struck dead by the falling of a piece of a 
burning waU. He went to rejoin in the bosom of God 
the friend for whom he had wept the previous day. 

Thus, entering into eternal life by a sublime act of 
self-devotion, Mgr. Peyramale's first friend, the friend of 
early days, departed this world immediately after the 
Servant of Mary. 

The more recent friend, the Abb6 Martignon, stUl 


A great hope as weU as a great sorrow had filled the 
soul of the sick priest beside the death-bed of the 
Servant of Mary. Assuredly the thought of being 
cured could in no way alleviate his affliction, for no 
personal consideration could attenuate his grief at the 
loss of his friend. But feeling himself henceforth alone 
in the world, it was pleasant to know that his protector 
was in heaven, and that doubtless, after God and the 
Blessed Virgin, it would be to his intervention that he 
would owe the grace he had so long solicited. 



It seemed to him that with such an intercessor, the 
Blessed Virgin would, on the ninth day, become perfectly 
accessible and favourable to his prayers. He even 
wrote to Paris, to the E. Y. Picard, Superior General of 
the Assumption, to tell him of his hope, or rather of his 
certainty of being cured. 

He already began to talk of what he should do when 
he was restored to health, and how he should employ 
himself in the Cur6 Peyramale's unfinished work. In 
the midst of his mourning and tears, he enjoyed by 
anticipation the sweets of recovered health, strength 
and voice. 

He prayed fervently, and many friends united their 
prayers to his. In this manner he reached the 15th of 
September — the eve of Our Lady of Seven Dolours, and 
the eve of the ninth day. 

In the morning of the 15th, which was a Saturday, 
he received a telegram informing him of the departure 
of M. and Mme. Guerrier for Lourdes, and asking him 
to be good enough to meet them at the station with a 

M. and Mme. Guerrier were entirely unknown to 
him. A letter he had received by post from the Cur6 
of Saint-Gobain, twenty-four hours before the arrival of 
the telegram, had informed him simply that Mme. 
Guerrier had suffered for many years from a painful 
disease, and that she was coming to Lourdes to pray for 
a cure in which she had absolute faith. The lady and 
her husband were warmly recommended to the Abb6 
Martignon, as they were visiting Lourdes for the first 

The Canon willingly accepted the charitable errand, 


and directed his steps towards the station in time for 
the three o'clock train. 

We will leave him for a few moments bending over 
his Breviary, and reading his Office in the waiting-room, 
while we reveal to the reader by what series of circum- 
stances it happened that M. and Mme. Gnerrier arrived 
at Lourdes on that particular day. 




M. Edward Guerrier, Justice of the Peace at Beaune, 
had about fifteen years before married a most excellent 
and Christian young lady, Mile. Justine Biver. 

Mile. Biver belonged to an honourable family. Her 
father was an eminent doctor, her brothers occupied im- 
portant commercial positions. One of them was General 
Director of the Company of Saiut-Gobain, the other 
Director of the celebrated Manufactory of Looking- 
glasses of Saint-Gobain and Chauny. 

Heaven had blessed their union. Three children were 
born in due order, all healthy and strong. They were 
brought up beneath their mother's eye, and cherished 
by her watchful care. She taught them their first 
lessons of human knowledge, but above all, she taught 
them the love of the poor, and the knowledge of God. 

In this way eleven years of uninterrupted happiness 
passed away. Eleven years of unbroken felicity is a 
very short time, and a very long time too ! ... It 
is short ! For happy days pass so rapidly that they 
seem to last but an instant. It is long ! For seldom is 
it that such a period of time passes in this vale of tears 
without being marked, here and there, by trouble or 

But about the year 1874, this clear horizon was sud- 


denly clouded over. Mme. Guerrier's health began 
rapidly to give way. Violent headaches were succeeded 
by frequent fainting fits, and by a gradually increasing 
weakness, which finally degenerated into a state of 
general paralysis, spreading successively to all the most 
important organs. The spine lost its strength, the legs 
refused all movement, the sight became weak and de- 
fective. Mme. Guerrier could not sit up in bed, and 
was obliged to remain always in a horizontal position. 
The lower part of the body fell, at . last, into a state of 
absolute insensibility ; not only were the feet and legs 
incapable of motion, but if they were pinched or pricked 
with a needle the patient did not feel it. Several times 
during her long fainting fits they feared she would sud- 
denly pass away. Death stood on the threshold and 
threw its threatening shadow on the once happy home. 
The poor mother had been obliged to give up superin- 
tending the education of her children, and could only 
now be present at their intercourse with God. She 
gathered them round her bed morning and night, and 
heard them pray and ask for her recovery. 


Her illness had lasted about two years, and they 
were in 1876. The eldest daughter Alice was to make 
her first Communion on the 2nd of April. And that 
great day on which the child was to receive her God 
was the all-absorbing preoccupation of the Christian 
mother. She thought of it for her daughter and also a 
little for herself, for it seemed to her impossible that in 
■ coming to take possession of her child's heart the merci- 


ful Saviour should not bring some relief for her own 
sufferings, and leave some royal sign of His visit . and 
sojourn in the house. Did He not, when in the olden 
times He entered the house of Simon Peter, order 
Peter's mother-in-law, who was lyiag ill, to rise and 
serve them ? "I am certain," said Mme. Guerrier, 
" that I shall rise and walk on that day." 

On the 2nd of AprU, Alice received the body and 
blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the first time ; and 
in the evening, a cordial dinner was offered to the 
priest who had prepared the young girl, and to a few 
members of the family. But no change had taken place 
in the mother's state and her seat remained empty as 
it had been for so long, when — at the very moment that 
dinner was served — Mme. Guerrier suddenly recovered 
her strength, rose, dressed and appeared in the midst of 
the guests, who were bewildered with delight and as- 
tonishment. Her sight was clear and distinct, her spine 
straight and supple, and her legs able to bear her weight 
as in bygone times. 

The priest intoned a hymn of thanksgiving to which 
all responded. They instinctively felt that He who 
in the morning had given Himself in the divine banquet 
was invisibly present at the evening repast. During 
the night Mme. Guerrier's sleep was deep and sweet, but, 
alas ! on the morrow when she tried to rise, her legs had 
fallen into their former inert condition. 


Was it, then, nothing but a dream and an illusion 
that on the evening before she had been in perfect- 


health, done the honours of the repast and celebrated 
the happiest day that had ever yet dawned on her 
daughter's life ? Was it an effort of imagination, a ner- 
vous movement, as the doctors say ? — No, no, nothing 
of the kind. 

The Master of life and death, of health and sickness, 
had so disposed all things that it was impossible not to 
recognise His hand, impossible to attribute to nature 
what was indeed the effect of His grace. 

On the day of the daughter's first Communion He 
would not disappoint the mother's hope and faith ; 
touching her with His divine finger. He had com- 
manded her to rise and serve the guests as he had for- 
merly done to Simon Peter's mother-in-law. But after 
having shown by this manifestation of His power, that 
He was the Sovereign Dispenser of life and health, He 
suffered it to be understood that, for some hidden reason 
known to Himself alone. His purpose was to let her 
stUl bear the weight of trial. And in order to mark 
stOl more clearly that He alone had ruled these events, 
He ordained that while the legs fell back iato their old 
state of infirmity the upper part of the body should be 
no longer subject to disease. The intolerable headaches 
and alarming fainting fits had disappeared, and the sight 
remained clear and strong. 

The centurion of the gospel employed a just com- 
parison when, in seeking to express the submission of 
nature to the almighty power of God, he likened it to 
the prompt and punctual obedience of military discip- 
line. " I say to one, go, and he goeth ; and to another, 
come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, do this, and 
he doeth it." 


Thus Jesus had commanded in a house of the French 
town of Beaune just as He had formerly commanded in 
the Jewish city of Capharnaum. 

Like a chief who manoeuvres his soldiers according 
to a plan of battle of which they are ignorant, He had 
said to the disease " Go !" He' had said to it " Come ! " 
He had said " Do this ! " and at His word all was accom- 

Why ? What was the reason of that partial falling 
back after a radical cure. What was the mysterious 
plan followed by Our Lord? He alone could tell; 
and if the question had been asked Him with reference 
to Mme. Guerrier, He would doubtless have answered 
as He did about the man bom blind : " It is that the 
works of God should be made manifest in her ". Is it 
necessary to add that Mme. Guerrier's faith, which 
was already great, became greater still ? Her soul had 
received grace from on high as well as her body. The 
clouds that had hid her husband, her children, and all 
whom she loved, from her sight, had been dispersed by 
a breath from heaven, and though still stretched on her 
bed, she was joyful and glad at heart. 


Since the commencement of her illness she had never 
had the happiness of seeing her parents. She lived at 
Beaune in the C6te d'Or. Her father and mother dwelt 
at Saint-Gobain in the department of Aisne. A hundred 
and forty leagues separated the two towns. The worthy 
Dr. Biver was then in his eighty-second year, and travel- 
ling was difficult for him ; but his daughter anxiously de- 


sired to see him, and from the first days of April to the 
beginning of September her wish became stronger and 
more urgent. 

Vainly her friends represented to her how difficult it 
was to move her and that so long a journey might throw 
her into a worse state; all these considerations gave way 
before the fihal desire of once more pressing to her heart 
the mother who had fed her with her milk, and the 
father who had cradled her in his arms in the days of 
her infancy. The signal imprudence was therefore com- 
mitted of allowing her to undertake the journey. 

As the doctors had foreseen, the result was a consider- 
able aggravation of her sufferings. The least move- 
ment, as, for example, when they tried to carry her from 
one room to another, produced frightful giddiness and 
nervous attacks ; so that it was utterly impossible for 
the sick woman to make another railway journey to 
Beaune. She was therefore obliged to remain where 
she was. 

The consequence of such a state of things and under 
such circumstances was the complete breaking up of the 
family. The functions of Justice of the Peace obliged 
the husband to stay in Beaune, the fatal bonds of infir- 
mity and disease detained the wife at Saint-Gobain. 
Mme. Guerrier had asked to have her children with 
her, and every two or three months the magistrate 
made a hurried journey over a hundred and forty 
leagues of rail, to pass a day or two with his beloved 
ones. About a year passed in this way. 

They watched anxiously for a moment of respite when 
a slight amelioration might -permit them to risk taldng 
the invalid home again to Beaune ; but so far from any 


improvement, she got gradually worse, and a commence- 
ment of paralysis manifested itself in the left arm. 
The thought of her return was rendered still more 
alarming by the experience of her departure. 

One day in the month of August, M. Guerrier was at 
Saint-Gobain, in despair at a situation from which there 
seemed no way of escape, when his wife said to him : 

" I want to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. I shall 
be cured there." 

These words startled and alarmed the husband. 
They presented the most harassing perspective to his 
mind, and he strongly opposed an idea which he felt 
must infallibly result in a fatal issue. 

" My dear wife," he answered, " you are asking for 
impossibilities. See what have been the consequences 
of yielding to your wish and letting you come to Saint- 
Gobain, eleven months ago. You, who cannot even 
bear to be drawn round the garden in an invalid chair, 
would you be mad enough to risk a journey right 
through France, to a place where we know nobody, 
and with the probability of never being able to come 
back ? Do not think of it for a moment. It would be 
tempting God and rushing into unknown dangers." 

"1 am certain I shall be cured at Lourdes," said 
Mme. Guerrier, " and I want to go." 

It was the struggle of reason against faith and hope. 
A struggle that lasted several days. 

Mme. Guerrier's confidence had at last influenced her 
brothers, the Directors of Saint-Gobain. They advised 


M. Guerrier to -let her liave her own way, and the latter, 
weary of resistance, at last gave a reluctant consent. 
Having procured a certificate from the doctor testifying 
to the state of his wife's health, he obtained leave of 
absence for a few weeks to be able to accompany her 
to the Pyrenees. 

The journey was finally decided on the Saturday, 8th 
of September, the Day of the Nativity. 

What prayers rose from all their hearts to Our Lady 
of Lourdes on the day in which her noble servant the 
Cur^ Peyramale left this world to enter into the Eealms 
of Justice, where the wicked receive their punishment, 
and the good are crowned with power and glory. 

M. Guerrier was, however, rendered extremely anxious 
by the thought that in case of some painful eventuality, 
he should find himself in a strange town without other 
aid or help than the mercenary and careless services of 
hotel servants. 

" How I wish," he often said, " that I knew some one 
at Lourdes, who could guide us a little. I am nervous 
at knowing nothing of the place." This passed on the 
10th or 11th of September. 

At that time the Abbe Poindron, Cure of Saint- 
Gobain, who often visited the family, read of Mgr. 
Peyramale's death in a newspaper ; and in the account 
of his last moments, he observed the name of the 
Abbe Martignon, the former Cure of Algiers, of whom 
we have spoken at the beginning of this narrative. 
. Immediately he hastened to call on Mme. Guerrier. 

" You will find some one at Lourdes to receive you 
and guide you," he said to the husband ; " I know the 
Abbe Martignon, and I will write and recommend you 


to his care. Let him know the hour of your arrival by- 
telegram. He will be expecting you." 


The exact moment of the terrible departure was fixed 
for the Wednesday, 12th September. It was decided 
that they should rest at Paris for four-and-twenty hours, 
and then, if possible, go straight on to Lourdes without 
stopping. A sleeping-car was bespoken of the railway 

In the family all was emotion and excitement. The 
invalid declared she should be cured, and her brothers, 
gained over by her faith, shared her confidence. Her 
husband, while yielding to his wife's wish, trembled 
with fear and anxiety. He saw only the material 
difficulties, whereas Mme. Guerrier seemed to ignore 
their existence. She looked to divine possibilities, and 
he to human probabilities. The children accustomed 
to hear nothing but the truth from their mother's Hps, 
and easily disposed to believe, as one especially is at 
that age, in the realisation of their wishes, rejoiced in 

" Yes, yes, you vrill be cured," said the eldest girl. 

Marie, the youngest, who never remembered seeing 
her mother otherwise than infirm and in bed, exclaimed : 

" Mamma wUl come back to us like another mamma, 
and we shall have a mamma who can walk." 

" And she wUl be able to take us on her lap," added 
Paul, whose little heart had often longed for that unat- 
tainable happiness. 

At other times they were frightened at the long jour- 


ney, which, to their childish imaginations, seemed end- 
less, and at the thought of the weary days and nights 
they would pass without seeing their mother or receiving 
her caresses. 

" Mother," they said, " will you be able to send us 
your blessing from Lourdes ? " 

There are few things more painful than the doubts 
and hesitations which precede some important decision. 
Mme. Guerrier's aged father had been spared them all, 
for it was only when everything had been settled and 
his consent alone was wanting, that his daughter ac- 
quainted him with her project of going to that distant 
sanctuary to ask of the Mother of God a cure, that 
human science had been powerless to accomplish. At 
this information, and before the supreme resource of 
turning from earthly means to resort only to heavenly 
intervention, the old doctor was deeply moved. Tears 
rose to his eyes. 

" I consent to whatever you wish," he said. And at 
the moment of her departure, he spread his venerable 
hands over his daughter and blessed her. 

The journey could only be made at the cost of terrible 
suffering, and when Mme. Guerrier arrived at Paris, it 
was with the greatest difficulty they managed to get her 
to the apartment of her brother, M. Hector Biver. 

Their brother-in-law, M. Louis Bonnel, professor at 
the College of Versailles, had come to meet them full 
of anxiety. 

" I have been enquiring if M. Henri Lasserre is at 
Lourdes just now," he said ; " I knew him once in a club 
to which we both belonged, and I have brought you a 
letter for him." 


It was by these means that he, to whom God. has 
granted the grace of relating this history, found himself 
naturally mixed up with its every detail. 

On the morrow they resumed their journey, but not- 
withstanding the invalid's courage, she was so exhausted 
by the time the train entered the station at Bordeaux, 
that her husband, justly alarmed, insisted on her resting 
for a day before she went any further. 




On Saturday the 15th of September, M. and Mme. 
G-Tierrier arrived at Lourdes. It will doubtless be re- 
membered that the priest to whom they had been 
recommended, the Abbe Martignon, was waiting at the 
station to receive them. He was seated in the waiting- 
room, saying his Office, and thinking of the supreme 
Noveno on which he had concentrated all his hopes of 

He called to mind the numbers of sick persons 
he had seen cured at the Grotto in the years he had 
been there, and he said to himself that his turn was 
now come, that the following day was the last of the 
Noveno, and that the Miracle he had asked for for so 
long would finally be accomplished. Time passes 
quickly in the company of hope, and thus the good 
canon had patiently awaited the arrival of the travel- 
lers with whom our readers are already acquainted, 
but whom he did not yet know. He had, however, 
got everything in readiness. A large and comfort- 
able carriage was waiting in the yard of the railway 
station. The porters carried the sick woman and 
placed her in it, and they drove to the house of Mme. 
Detroyat in the Avenue of the station, where the 
Abb^ Martignon had taken a room. But the room 
happened to be on the first or second floor, and Mme. 


Guerrier's condition made it absolutely indispensable 
for her to have a room on the ground floor. The Canon 
of Algiers, not having been sufSciently informed on that 
point, could not naturally foresee the necessity of it, 
and therefore he found himself rather embarrassed. 

" Never mind," he said to the hostess, " I will take 
them to M. Lavigne, close by. Perhaps he will be able 
to give us a room such as you wish for." 

M. Lavigne is the owner of a pretty house embowered 
in shrubs and flowering plants. A latticed door painted 
green opens from the garden on to the high road that 
passes through Lourdes and forms the principal street of 
the town. The dwelling is situated in the lower part 
of the road between the town and the station. 

The worthy M. Lavigne put himself at the disposal 
of the pilgrims with the best grace in the world. So, 
instead of stopping at Mme. Detroyat's or in one of the 
hotels, M. and Mme. Guerrier found themselves settled 
in M. Lavigne's house, in a large room on the ground 
floor, that opened on to the garden, and was turned into 
a bedroom for the occasion. Idle as these details may 
appear, they are not without use or importance, as will 
be seen later on. 

In that room, Mme. Guerrier told the Abbe Martignon 
the story of her long sufferings, her incurable infirmities, 
and the confident hope that had brought her to Lourdes. 
They talked of the innumerable benefits of Our Lady of 
Lourdes, and of Mgr. Peyramale ; the priest of Algiers 
let drop a few words about his Noveno, asking Mme. 
Guerrier to join in it, and cordially offering to pray for 
her intentions. . . . After resting some time, they 
went to the Grotto, M. Guerrier having engaged two 


temporary domestics to help to carry Mme. Guerrier 
from the carriage to the foot of the statue of Mary. It 
was then about five o'clock. 

At that time and in that place we had the honour of 
seeing her for the first time. M. Guerrier gave us his 
brother-in-law's letter, and acquainted us with the 
troubles of the family. 

Mme. Guerrier's prayers were fervent and absorbed. 
She sat motionless, with her eyes seemingly fixed in 
ecstasy on the marble statue of the invisible Virgin who 
had formerly appeared in that place and whom she had 
come from so far to invoke. The expression of her face 
and the elevation of her hands, all expressed unshaken 
faith and hope. 


Before setting out on her journey, Mme. Guerrier had 
received absolution, and had, to the best of her power, 
disposed her soul effectually to implore the miraculous 
grace she had come to seek. She was ready. But her 
husband, although a sincere Christian, was a little 
behind-hand; for having had the weight of aU the 
temporal preparations and anxieties, he had been less 
active in regulating, his spiritual affairs. He had made 
all the arrangements for their departure, and regulated 
the different details of the journey with vigilant care, 
but he had put off preparing himself until the last hour 
and the decisive moment. 

It was at Lourdes that the hour struck. 

Late in the evening, M. Guerrier asked the Abb6 
Martignon to hear his confession ; it being his iatention 



on the morrow to take his place at the Holy Table 
beside her whom he cherished ; he wished their actions 
to be united, as were their hearts, and their prayers to 
ascend together to God. 

Thus it was, that in the mystery of the Sacrament of 
Penance he opened his heart to the priest of Jesus 
Christ. He confessed his faults, he told him his 
troubles, his anxieties, the cloud that hung over his 
home, his uneasiness for the present, his alarm for the 
future. He wanted comfort and encouragement, and 
experience had taught him that, what the Church 
calls the " tribunal of Penance," is also the " tribunal of 
Consolation". The details of his confidence are the 
secret of God. We know, however, that the Confessor, 
who, for an instant, holds the place of the Almighty 
Father, and in His name utters words of mercy to all 
His creatures, often feels in a higher degree than ordi- 
nary men the sublime sentiment of pity, and the former 
Cure of Algiers was moved to compassion at the trials 
of the disconsolate husband ; at the spectacle of that 
mother of three children condemned for so long to 
infirmity and inaction, and that little family stiU in 
such want of motherly care. He forgot his own iUs in 
his sorrow for the ills of others. Wot, however, that 
we wish it to be understood that he no longer remem- 
bered his own sufferings and the immense hopes he had 
founded on the morrow. On the contrary, he thought 
of it all. But a consideration of a higher order which 
had already presented itself to his mind, and of which 
he had vaguely spoken to Mme. Guerrier, rose in his 
heart and there took form and purpose. He hastened 
to give it his adhesion. 


" Tell your wife to be full of confidence, and do not 
let yours fail either!" said lie to his penitent, to the 
man who, in the sacred tribunal, called him " Father," 
and to whom he answered "My son". "I saw her 
praying this evening at the Grotto ; she is one of those 
who triumph over the heart of God and conquer the 
Miracle." . . . 

" I myself," he added, " am making a Noveno that I 
began at the deathbed where my friend the revered 
Cure of Lourdes had just expired. Prom that moment 
I have invoked his memory, and I have prayed Our 
Lady of Lourdes to permit that on the ninth day he 
may himself communicate to me the answer to my 
urgent request. We are just at the eve of that day. 
My Noveno was begun on the Saturday, 8th of Sep- 
tember, and will finish to-morrow, Sunday, the Feast 
of Our Lady of Seven Dolours. To-morrow, then, I 
shall celebrate the Mass which is my last hope. . . . 
But do you tell Mme. Guerrier that not only will I say 
that Mass for her, but also, if I am to have any share 
in the manifest answer I solicit, that I give up that 
share to her. I make her a free gift of all the anterior 
prayers of my Noveno, and I substitute her intentions for 
mine, so that if the sign given on the ninth day be a 
cure, it may he her mire and Twt mine. Before she goes 
to sleep to-night, and when she wakes to-morrow morn- 
ing, teU her to associate Mgr. Peyramale's name with 
her prayers ; and come both of you to-morrow morning 
at eight o'clock to the Mass at the Basilica. I have 
great hopes that something good will happen." 

M. and Mme. Guerrier, in accepting such an offer, 
could not measure the heroism and extent of the saori- 


flee made by the priest of Algiers. To do so they 
would have required to know the long history of his 
past life, and of that they were absolutely ignorant. 


That evening, then, before closing her eyes, and on 
the morrow at the dawn of day, the incurably paralysed 
woman associated with her prayers the name of Mgr. 
Peyramale. A little before eight in the morning she 
was carried to the Basilica to be present at the last and 
supreme Mass of the Noveno, in which the Abbe Mar- 
tignon expected to receive the mysterious answer of his 
deceased friend. 

Mme. Guerrier was deeply imbued with the infallible 
and consoling teachings of the Church on the com- 
munion of Saints and the reversionary gift of Merits. 
In consequence, therefore, of the act of abnegation made 
in her favour by the Abbe Martignon, the feehng of 
confident faith that had brought her to the Grotto of 
Lourdes was strengthened so as to have become a posi- 
tive certainty. Let us try to give an idea of it. 

In this resort of peace and edification we are a long 
way from battlefields and sanguinary struggles, and yet 
we shall seek ia the midst of camps a comparison that 
may adequately convey some idea of what was passing 
iu a heart absorbed in prayer. 

The Captain has started with his troops for the field 
of battle. He knows the place and the hour, the eager- 
ness of his men and the arrangements of the enemy. 
He has encamped in the dusk of the evening, when 
misty shadows overspread .the country, hiding every- 


thing from his sight. But the place is well known to 
him, and he ranges his regiments and companies in 
perfect order. On the other side of a little river a faint 
noise of trampling and clicking of steel reveals to him 
the presence of the enemy he is burning to conquer. 
His heart beats, and in spite of himself he cannot help 
thinking of the small number of his soldiers, and the 
superior forces of the adversary. Suddenly the wind 
rises and disperses the mist. And then, the Captain 
perceives on the opposite bank, the army of an allied 
Prince who is come to fight in his cause, the army of a 
powerful Prince led to his help, through the mist, by a 
faithful friend. "Unexpected reinforcement! Invin- 
cible alliance ! The Great Prince is on our side ! We 
are sure of victory !" cries the Captain, beside himself 
with joy. 

Thus in her secret heart was moved the Christian 
woman who had come to Lourdes without any other 
help than her own prayers and those of her family: 
thus did she glow with confident fervour when she 
found that, most unexpectedly, and at the request of a 
friend, the illustrious Servant of Mary, the venerated 
Cure Peyramale, would unite his powerful prayer to her 
humble supplication, and his strength to her weakness. 
She instinctively felt that she was on the eve of triumph. 


The Basilica was almost entirely filled with the pil- 
grims arrived from Marseilles the previous day. It 
would have been extremely diificult to carry through 
such a dense crowd a sick person to whom the least 


movement and the slightest shock were a source of 
fatigue and suffering. It was therefore decided that the 
Mass should be said in one of the two first chapels 
nearest the door. They chose the one to the left, dedi- 
cated to Saint Germaine Cousin ; and to that chapel — 
whither so many unforeseen circumstances had directed 
their steps — Mme. Guerrier was conveyed. There the 
Abb^ Martignon celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, taking 
care to reserve the suffrages of the Memento of the dead 
for the beloved lost friend whose memory was present 
to every heart. The invalid heard Mass seated on a 
chair with her helpless legs stretched on a prie-Dieu 
before her. 

While the Abbe Martignon was reading the Epistle, 
the thought of Mgr. Peyramale suddenly presented it- 
self to his mind with extraordinary clearness. In the 
last lines of the text before his eyes, he had seen the 
following words stand prominently out, and their start- 
ling application to actual circumstances impressed him 
forcibly, as he slowly read them. 

" The Lord hath so magnified thy name this day, that 
thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men 
who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, 
for that thou hast not spared thy life by reason of the 
distress and tribulation of thy people, but h.a&\, prevented 
our ruin in the presence of our God."* 

" My body will be the leaven. I must die to ward 

* Hodie nomen tuum ita magnificavit ut non recedat laus tua de ore 
hominum qui memores fueriut virtutis Domini in seternum, pro qulbus 
non peperoiati animae tuse propter angustias et tribulationem generis 
tui, sed subvmiati ruince ante oonspectum Dei nostri. — Epistle of the 
Mass of Our Lady of Seven Dolours. 3rd Sunday of September. 


off ruin," had often been the words of the Man of God 
before he descended to the tomb. 

At the moment of the Elevation the congregation 
prostrated themselves. The sick woman alone remained 
motionless, and when the instant of the Sacred Banquet 
arrived, her husband went and knelt at. the Holy Table, 
while she, impotent and powerless, waited for her God 
to come to her. And He came, borne by mortal hands, 
to feed her hunger and assuage her thirst. But hardly 
had she received the Sacrament of the Lord, than she 
felt an irresistible strength urging her to rise and kneel. 
And at the same moment she heard, in the depths of 
her heart, a sovereign voice commanding her to do so. 
Her husband was kneeling beside her with his face in 
his hands, communing with his soul after receiving the 
Blessed Sacrament, believing without belief and hoping 
without hope. 

Suddenly he heard a movement and the rustling of 
a dress. He raised his head and looked round. Mme. 
Guerrier had just knelt down beside him. 

Eespect for the sacred edifice checked the cry of 
gratitude, of joy, of amazement that rose to his lips. 
Instinctively he turned his eyes to the altar, where they 
met those of the priest, shining like his own with rap- 
ture and thanksgiving. At that very instant he had 
turned towards the people to utter the grand sacerdotal 

" Dominus vohiscum. The Lord be with you ! " 

The Lord was with them indeed. 

The mass was finished and the last gospel was being 
read. Mme. Guerrier rqse from her knees, "stood up 
without effort, and then knelt down again. . . . 


As for her husband, his legs shook under him, and it 
was with difficulty he kept from sinking to the ground. 
Pale and trembling, his eyes dimmed by tears, he looked 
at his wife without daring to speak to her, and without 
being able to believe his senses. The miraculously 
cured woman prayed and poured forth her thanks- 
givings in profound absorption. All the emotion feU 
to her husband's share, she herself was absolutely 

The priest took off the sacred ornaments and knelt 
at the corner of the altar to offer his thanksgivings. 
How fervent they must have been ! He had begun his 
Noveno at the side of the deathbed of the Servant of 
Mary, uniting with his prayers the name of him who 
had just quitted this world, and imploring Our Lady of 
Lourdes to permit that on the ninth day that revered 
friend should himself give the answer. After that, he 
had by the exercise of heroic charity transmitted to 
another the treasure on which he had so eagerly counted. 

And then, on the ninth day, at the hour iixed, neither 
sooner nor later, at the mass that he himself was sayiTig 
with that intention, the person indicated hy him stood 
up, suddenly cured, like the paralytics of the gospel, 
by the contact of an invisible hand. The answer he 
had implored of the goodness and power of Our Lady 
of Lourdes was sent him with divine distinctness. 
The sign he had asked for was given him with unmis- 
takable clearness. 

Whatever might be the joy of the newly-recovered 
paralytic, the priest's joy was greater still. His friend 
the Cur^Teyramale, who had left this world for heaven, 
began already to manifest his presence there. 


They none of them, however, paid any attention to 
the different details of the little lateral chapel in which 
they were, and to which a hand, stronger and more 
delicate than the hand of man, had led them. And yet 
the stones, the sculptures, the inscriptions were so many 
mysterious voices murmuring the same name, that name 
which the priest had thought he heard when reading 
the last words of the epistle, resounding in his ear like 
an echo from a higher world. 

It was the first chapel on entering, and the com- 
mencement of the Basilica : everything in it recalled 
the origin of the divine history of Our Lady of Lourdes, 
of whom, to use the words of Mgr. Lang^nieux, the 
Cure Peyramale had been the witness, the confidant, and 
the Apostle. 

Beneath the window the entire wall is covered by 
three white marble slabs, high and wide ; and on the 
marble is engraved a brief history of the eighteen Ap- 

The Cure of Lourdes had been invested with his 
great rSle here below, when the Virgin sent Bernadette 
to him with the formal command : — " Go and tell the 
priests that I wish them to build me a chapel here ". 
And on that marble could be read the celebrated order : 
— " Go and teU the priests that I wish them to build 
me a chapel here". . . . Could it be possible to 
bring more distinctly to mind the mission and the per- 
son of the first labourer of the first hour, of him who 
had hollowed out the first foundation, and laid the first 
stone ? 


One day the Cur4 of Lourdes had asked the Appari- 
tion of the Grotto to cause roses to blossom in the frosts 
of February, and the Virgin had answered him by the 
word "Penance". Up above the friezes a long line 
composed of gold hearts runs round the nave, repro- 
ducing by the manner in which they are disposed, some 
of the words of Our Lady of Lourdes ; and just exactly 
above the great arch that forms the entrance to that 
lateral chapel, is the very word by which Mary had 
answered the Curb's request, that word so painfully 
realised in the life of the sainted priest : " Penance ! " 

The Cure of Lourdes, in obedience to the decree of 
Mary, had received on his shoulders the weight of a 
terrible cross. And what was the subject of the Way 
of the Cross that the artist had sculptured to the right 
of the altar, over the little ogive leading to the next 
chapel. It was the Cyrenian. The Man bearing the 
Cross. At the altar where the Abbe Martignon had just 
celebrated Mass, the recollections of that same period 
stood prominently out beneath the transparent veil of 

There could be contemplated, chosen amongst all the 
legions of the Blessed, the saint who most reminds one 
of Bernadette. A shepherdess, like her, an innocent 
child of the South, possessing the same youth and 
speaking the same idiom. The most pure and radiant 
Germaine Cousin. At her side is the shepherdess's 
crook, and on her head the covering, similar in shape 
and name that they call cwpuchon in the region about 
Toulouse, and capulet in the Pyrenees. " Of all my 
lambs," Bernadette used to say, " the smallest is the 
one I love most." The little lamb is figured at the feet 


of Germaine. Behind her stands the dog, symbol of 
Vigilance, Fidelity, and Strength, to defend both sheep 
and shepherdess ; and that triple virtue brings to mind 
the energetic Pastor who would never allow the breath 
of persecution to touch the Child of Mary. When the 
roses were asked for, Bernadette, it will be reinembered, 
came back empty-handed, but here over the altar the 
Holy Shepherdess now has her apron full of roses, that 
her pure hands scatter profusely before her. And as 
roses must have a perfume, here again before the sacri- 
ficial stone, a miracle takes place, embalming every soul 
and shedding a celestial odour on the memory of the 
Servant of Mary. 

Once the Virgin had smiled as if to promise roses 
after this life in the season of the eternal spring. . . . 
Our Lady of Lourdes had just fulfilled the promise 
contained in her smile. Let us stop here an instant and 
apply to this supernatural event, and this mystic sym- 
bolism, the simple logic of reason. 

If the Blessed Virgin, in restoring Mme. Guerrier to 
health, had not intended to specify in a marked manner 
the manifest meaning that strikes every mind, and to 
join with this cure the memory of her servant, is it not 
evident that she would have chosen another moment 
than that Noveno, which was a day marked in advance, 
another circwmstance than that last Mass of the Noveno 
celebrated by the intimate friend, another place than 
that significant chapel ? She would have chosen the 
previous day, or the day following, or any other date ; 
the Grotto, the Piscina, or another altar, and have accorded 
to some other priest the privilege of saying Mass at the 
hour and place of the miracle. But it seemed to be her 


express will that the day, the priest, and the pMce, should 
all suggest the same name and give exactly the answer 
so eagerly solicited. Beneath the action of her all- 
powerful will, every detail of the event, reflecting and 
re-echoing every other detail, proclaimed and brought 
into relief the self-same truth. No ! no ! such con- 
cordance, such comparisons are not the fortuitous results 
of chance ! Those delicate harmonies, those exquisite 
details, so carefully and perfectly combined by Him 
who directs all things, as infallibly denote the action of 
a divine hand, as the machinery of a watch and the 
motion of the wheels denote the action of the watch- 
maker. Circumstances like these are the language ia 
which God addresses men — a language, at the same 
time as clear and as enigmatic as that of the parables 
He once uttered to the crowds collected on the banks 
of the Lake of Genezareth, or in the streets of Jeru- 
salem. The simple soul listens, understands and adores. 
" To you," said Our Lord to His disciples, " it has been 
given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God ; 
but to these not. They have eyes and they see not ; 
they have ears and they cannot hear." 

For which reason it is necessary when in the presence 
of a miraculous event or any direct act of divine power, 
to have our eyes open and our ears attentive — that is, 
piously to examine and meditate all the circumstances 
of it, so as to profit by the teaching after having dis- 
covered its real meaning. 

Do you remember, reader, that touching passage in 
Genesis, where we read how Eliezer went into Mesopo- 
tamia to the city of Nachor to seek a wife for Isaac, and 
stopped near a well of water without the town. Then, 


raising his heart on high, he pronounced these 
words: — 

" Lord, the God of my master Abraham, meet me 
to-day, I heseech Thee, and shew kindness to my 
master Abraham. Behold, I stand nigh the spring of 
water, and the daughters of the inhabitants of this city 
will come out to draw water. Now, therefore, the maid 
to whom I shall say : Let down thy pitcher that I may 
drink ; and she shall answer. Drink, and I will give thy 
camels drink also ; let it be the same whom Thou has 
provided for Thy servant Isaac, and by this I shall 
understand that Thou hast shewn kindness to my 

He had not yet ended these words within himself, 
and behold Eebecca came out, the daughter of Bathuel, 
son of Melcha, wife to Nachor, the brother of Abraham, 
having a pitcher on her shoulder : 

And she went down to the spring and filled her 
pitcher and was coming back. 

And the servant ran to meet her and said : " Give me 
a little water to drink of thy pitcher ". 

And she answered : " Drink, my lord ". And quickly 
she let down the pitcher upon her arm and gave him 
to drink. And when he had drunk, she said : " I will 
draw water for thy camels also, till they all drink". . . . 

But he, musing, beheld her with silence, desirous to 
know whether the Lord had made his journey pros- 
perous or not. And after that the camels had drunk. . . . 

"Whose daughter art thou ?" 

" I am the daughter of Bathuel, the son of Melcha, 
whom she bore to Nachor." . . . 

The man bowed himself down and adored the Lord, 


saying : " Blessed be the Lord God of my father Abra- 
ham, who hath not taken away His mercy and truth 
from my master, and hath brought me the straight way 
into the house of my master's brother." 

By thg perfect concordance between the secret prayer 
of his soul and the sign he had asked for, which was 
accomplished to the very letter, Eliezer had recognised 
the distinct answer of God and the favour extended to 
his master Abraham. It is the same with us now, for 
the God of those far-distant times is the God of our 
own days. His name is Eternal, and now, as in the 
past. He responds in the same manner to the upright 
heart that implores His help. 

But to resume our narrative. 


Our Lady of Lourdes, invoked under the circum- 
stances just related, had granted a perfect and complete 
grace. Mme. Guerrier was radically cured. 

She had prayed to obtain her cure, she now prayed 
in thanksgiving for it. 

Then she rose, calm, serene, without the least excite- 
ment, physical or moral, but radiant with the effects of 
the divine contact; and turning to her husband, she 

"My dear, give me your arm. . . . Let us go 
out!" . . . 

M. Guerrier could not believe his eyes. What he 
saw accomplished before him appeared an impossibility, 
a heavenly dream; and his unspeakable joy was checked 


by the fear of seeing the glorious vision suddenly dis- 
appear. . . . 

In his bewilderment he turned to call the porters. 

" No ! no ! " said the Abbe Martignon, recalling him 
to the consciousness of the divine and miraculous 
reality, " Let her walk ! " 

Then M. Guerrier tremblingly offered her his arm. 
She took it, and without saying a word, silently 
pressed it for an instant to her heart. That silent 
pressure expressed better than any words could have 
done the remembrance of their past troubles, and the 
immensity of their present happiness. The happiness 
of the wife and mother, of the children, and of all the 
family — she thought of them all at that moment. 
And from her own and her husband's heart, those 
two hearts which formed but one, an immeasurable 
burst of gratitude rose towards God and the Blessed 

Mme. Guerrier went down the two steps of the chapel 
and crossed the end of the nave. The pilgrims from 
Marseilles were celebrating by their chants the power 
and goodness of Our Lady of Lourdes without having 
any suspicion that close to them, in a lateral chapel, 
and amidst the silence of a low mass, that power had 
just manifested itself. 

On leaving the Basilica, the paralytic woman, newly 
cured, went down the great stone flight of twenty-five 
steps with the greatest ease. The carriage was waiting 
at the foot of it, and the coachman, at sight of 
her, remained rooted to his seat, motionless with 
astonishment. At a sign from M. Guerrier he drew 
up with the carriage and opened the door. 


"No," said Mme. Guerrier, "I want to go to the 

"Yes, certainly "said her husband; "but we will go 
in the carriage." 

"By no means. — I mean to go on foot, leaning on 
your arm." 

The Abbe Martignon leant over, and, with the ex- 
hausted voice that was but a whisper, he uttered the 
word of faith: 

" She is cured. — Let her do as she likes." 

They let her have her way, therefore, and all three 
descended to the Grotto, by the Cur^ Peyramale's 
little paths. At the Basilica, before the altar she had 
offered her first thanksgiving, and at the Grotto, before 
the statue of Mary, she again lifted up her heart in 

Without any help or support, she knelt down and 
prostrated herself. Then she rose, drank a glass of the 
miraculous water, and directed her steps towards the 
Piscina where the sick were bathed. All cured as she 
was, she insisted on entering the water, and her whole 
being drew from it a new strength and a greater activity 
in the play of the joints. 

She desired to return to the town on foot. The 
carriage went before them at a foot-pace. But when 
they had got half-way, the Abb4 Martignon was obliged 
to ask a little respite not for her but for himself. 

" Madame," said he, " I pray you do not walk so fast. 
You are cured," he added smiling, " but I am not. And 
I own that I can go no further. Out of pity for me let 
us get into the carriage." 

" Very wUlingly," she replied. 


And she lightly stepped into the vehicle. 

The carriage went through Lourdes, but when it got a' 
little above the old church, it turned suddenly into the 
street of Langelle. Had the coachman made a mistake? 
Xot at all. He obeyed Mme. Guerrier's orders and took 
the right road. When he stopped, Mme. Guerrier got 
out with her husband and the former Cure of Algiers, 
and going down a rough steep wooden staircase she 
penetrated into the Crypt of an unfinished church. 

There she found a tomb covered with a simple stone. 
She dipped her fingers in some holy water ; and with a 
branch of laurel that was placed there sprinkled a few 
drops of the sacred liquid on the tomb. 

Then she knelt and prayed above the remains of the 
Servant of Mary : the Cur^ Peyramale. 

And that was her third act of thanksgiving. 

During the week that followed the death of Mgr. 
Peyramale no pilgrimage had appeared in the mourning 
town. But on that same glorious day, the first pilgrim- 
age, that had made its entry into Lourdes, carrying at 
its head the banner of Our Lady of Guard, went and 
prayed before the tomb. Thus, the first garland 
brought from a distance to be deposited on the sepulchre, 
bears the very date of the miracle we have just related: 
"The pilgrims from Marseilles, 16th September, 1877".* 

* To inaugurate their processions by an act of gratitude towards the 
great Servant of Mary, the pilgrimages that came to Lourdes at that 
time, such as those of Tours, Rouergue, Piedmont, Villefranche, etc., 
took the tomh of the Cure of Lourdes in their way in going from the 
parish church to the Grotto, and conforming themselves to the canonic 
prescriptions they there recited the prayers of the Church. The Bishop 
of Tarbes, Mgr. Jourdan, fearing a premature veneration of the Car6 
of Lourdes, interdicted the road taken by the processions. 



M. and Mme. Guerrier, accompanied by their friend the 
Abb6 Martignon, at last returned home to M. Lavigne's 
dwelling, where the sick woman had arrived the day 
before, a prey, for so many years past, to an incurable 

Their host and hostess were lost in delight and 
astonishment. It seemed to them like a blessing 
on their house. With what emotion they listened to 
the account of all that had just been accomplished! 
. . . And how heartily they entered into the mar- 
vellous coincidences which were the special features of 
the miraculous event. 

" Madame," said M. Lavigne, after hearing all, " do 
you know where you are, and to what particular spot 
Providence has led you, so that, having left this house, 
a little while ago, entirely paralysed, you should now 
return to it completely cured ? " 

" E"o, I do not ! " she replied, with a look of surprise. 

" You are in the house which was the Presbytery of 
Lourdes at the period of the Apparitions ; and you are 
staying in the room where the Cure Peyramale interro- 
gated Bernadette for the first time, and where, from 
her mouth, he received the commands of the Blessed 

At this supreme coincidence, at this last great light 
thrown on the actions of Providence, and the evident 
intention of these events, a sort of thrill went through 
the little company.. The light was so brilliant that it 
dazzled them. For a time they all remained silent and 



M. and Mme. G-uerrier remained a few days longer at 
Lourdes. They preferred staying at the place where 
they had received such a signal favour and thanking 
God for it there, to hurrying away with it immediately. 
Then they took the train to return to the house of Mme. 
Guerrier's parents at Saint-Gobain. The journey was 
got through rapidly and without fatigue. 

We have before our eyes a letter from M. Guerrier 
containing some interesting details to which we leave 
their own peculiar charm : — 

"Let me try and retrace for you," he writes, "the 
overwhelming astonishment of my dear wife's eldest 
brother. Hector Biver, who was waiting for us at the 
station at Paris, when he saw his sister get out of the 
carriage without help, take his arm and walk with him 
to the cab ; his speechless amazement when we got to 
his house and she ran up the stairs leading to his 
apartment ; the bewilderment and tearful joy of his 
servants who, ten days before, had carried my poor 
Justine, then so iU, up and down stairs with such care 
and precaution. The next day on our arrival at Chauny, 
her youngest brother, Alfred Biver, director of the 
Manufactory of Saint-Gobain, was waiting for us at the 
station, anxious, uneasy, and disturbed, for, in spite of 
the letters and telegrams he could not believe the 


miracle possible. What, then, was his surprise when 
my beloved wife sprang into his arms ! He could not 
recover from it, but gave it vent in incessant exclamations 
during the whole time of our drive along the fourteen 
miles that separate Ohauny from Saint-Gobain. Al- 
though the horses went like the wind, the journey 
seemed long and we felt as if we should never arrive. 

" At last about five in the evening we got in sight of 
the house, and saw all the family, big and little, sisters, 
sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces, and above all, our 
dear children, looking out for us at the door with beat- 
ing hearts, and expectant eyes, eager to convince them- 
selves of the truth, and drink deeply at the overflowing 
fountain of our mutual happiness. 

" But when they saw their mother, their sister, their 
aunt, coming out of the carriage alone and walking to- 
wards them unaided, that was a picture no human 
power could retrace : what joy ! what delicious tears ! 
what embraces ! Justine's mother was never tired of 
caressing the daughter that Our Lady of Lourdes had 
restored to her love and sent back to her, strong, well, 
and perfectly cured. 

" The aged father, kept prisoner in one room by his 
eighty-three years, was not present. We mounted the 
few steps that separated us from his apartment, all the 
members of the family following us and filling up the 

" On the threshold of his study stood the venerable 
octogenarian, his hands trembling more from joy than 
age, and his noble countenance bathed in tears. He 
opened his arms and said : 
" ' My daughter ! ' 


" Mme. Guerrier fell on her knees. 

" ' Pather,' said she, ' you blessed me when I started 
for Lourdes sick and incurable. Bless me now that I 
am come back miraculously cured, as I told you I 
should be.' 

" He extended his arms over my dear Justine's head ; 
then opened them afresh, and she Wept out her joy 
on her father's breast. 

" And, that nothing might be wanting to complete our 
felicity, it happened that this very day was the feast 
day of her who returned thus triumphant to her 
father's house. You can imagine what a magnificent 
celebration we made of it. But that is not all. The 
Church reclaimed her share of the rejoicings ; and the 
excellent and zealous Cure of Saint-Gobain, the Abbe 
Poindron, had asked permission of the Bishop of 
Soissons to celebrate a solemn Benediction, as an act of 
thanksgiving for the unspeakable favour we had re- 

" The next day, therefore, we repaired to the parish 
church, where an immense crowd of devout and as- 
tonished people thronged our steps. The bells chimed 
joyously, and the church was filled to overflowing. 

" The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was raised to a 
place of honour, and opposite that sacred image a seat 
had been prepared for her whom Mary had deigned to 
cure. The priest entered the pulpit and related, simply 
and without commentary, the remarkable event which 
had occasioned the ceremony. Then several young girls, 
dressed and veiled in white, placed the statue of Our 
Lady of Lourdes on their shoulders, and the procession 
moved on. Behind the image of our Heavenly Bene- 


factress, my dear wife walked with me, to the sound of 
enthusiastic hymns, and the triumphant chords of the 
organ, followed by a dense crowd of people who could 
not retain their tears. And finally, the Te Deum broke 
forth beneath the vaulted roof. God had taken His 
place on the altar." . . . 

What need we add to this letter. If earth ofifers such 
sights, what must be the rejoicings of heaven ! . . . 


Here we would fain end our narrative, and leave our 
readers to steep their souls in these heavenly rays. 
But, ia this world, there is no light without its corre- 
sponding shadow, and that we may complete our history, 
truth compels us to turn our eyes towards a melancholy 

In the same letter, of which such a long extract has 
been given, M. Guerrier speaks of the Abb^ Martignon. 

" Never can we forget," he says, " that my dear wife's 
cure was the answer he had asked the Blessed Virgia 
to give him by the intervention of the sainted Cure 
Peyramale. From that moment we have constantly 
prayed for his own cure, and for the re-establishment of 
his health. May Our Lady of Lourdes come to our 
help, and restore to him an hundred-fold that which he 
abandoned, with such sacred charity, and not in vain, 
to Mme. Guerrier. We all unite our prayers, to ask 
this favour of our All-powerful Mother; and God knows 
if, in making our request, we do it with the deepest and 
most fervent gratitude of our hearts." 


In the midst of her joy, Mme. Guerrier experienced 
sometimes a feeling that troubled her like a remorse. 

" Poor Abb^ Martignon," she said to us ; " it some- 
times seems to me that I have stolen his cure from 
him ! " 

No, Madame, you have stolen no one's treasure in re- 
ceiving the gift of God. The Almighty and the Blessed 
Virgin have disposed all things for Their own glory, 
perhaps also for the glory of one of their servants, 
and most certainly for the good of all. You have 
received a great and touching grace, and it is with tears 
in our eyes that we have related it. But you may take 
it for granted that the most signal grace was accorded 
to the priest of whom you are speaking, when it was 
given him to raise himself to such sublime heights by 
an act of devoted unselfishness, when it was given him 
to have that point of resemblance with the Divine 
Master who has said in His Gospel, and proved in His 
own person, that there is no greater charity than to give 
one's life for one's friends. The good Samaritan suc- 
coured the wounded man ; the Good Shepherd has given 
His life for one sheep of the fold. ... Be grateful 
then, but do not pity him. He has chosen the better 

A few weeks later, the Abb6 Martignon left Lourdes, 
where his friend the Servant of the Virgin no 
longer was. He was too ill to follow the inclinations 
of his heart, and cross the Mediterranean to rejoin 
his paternal Archbishop in Africa. Towards the be- 
ginning of winter, he went to Hy^res, where the 
mUd climate prolonged for him the warm days of 
Autumn. " May the sea-breezes revive him ! " we 


prayed to God, " and may the genial rays of the sun 
restore him ! " 


What was foreordained to happen, however, took 
place in a short time. God did not long defer His ser- 
vant's reward. Winter had passed and the Abbe Mar- 
tignon, weaker than ever, left Hy^res to go to Poitiers 
on a visit to some friends. In a church close at hand 
he could still celebrate the divine Mysteries every day. 

" I am here," he wrote to us, " like a bird on a branch 
— waiting for it to break ! " 

And soon, indeed, it did break, and the soul took its 
flight towards the eternal heavens. 

Eight months and a half after Mme. Guerrier's cure, 
the 27th of May, 1878, between three and four in the 
evening, the Abb^ Martignon was taken with a strange 
shivering. He soon understood the meaning of that 
supreme warning. 

" Magister adest et vocat te, . . . Mary," said 
Martha to her sister, " the Master is come and is asking 
for thee." 

As the last rays of the sun disappeared behind the 
horizon, the Priest of the Lord drooped his head, and 
his eyes closed for ever on earth, to open again in that 
radiant coiintry where the Light ever shineth. 

Thus lived and thus died Mgr. Peyramale's second 
friend. Like the Abb6 Lafont, on the day after the 
obsequies of the Servant of Mary, the Abb^ Martignon 
had entered into eternal life by the door of devoted 
charity, and self-sacrifice.* The inscription engraved 

* For proofs, see Appendix, Note V. 


on the master's tomb is equally applicable to the two 
disciples : " Zelus comedit eos ". Love had eaten them 
up. May they all three repose in Peace ! And if God 
has received them into His Gloiy, as we firmly hope, 
may they remember, in Heaven, the friends who loved 
them here on earth. 



It w now twenty yeara ago Hin(^; I wa» the fA^6Ct of 
an extraordinary cure of which J gave a Md account 
in my book entitled " Our Lady of Iourde«", 

For the (rapematural work of iny cur*; it pleaded Ood 
t*^; cmj^loy tiin;<j instruments, thrw; Tri«!f» who at tiiat 
period wero in obscurity Vmt mm are publicly known. 

The first was a young l'ol« wliose ac^iuaintance I had 
made in IUi.\y. TUa second, a |m/tcstant who had fi'i'm 
the friend (A. my boylwKxl, 'Hi*; ifiirr], a saintly ol/J 
man wliose life was \mmA in adoring the Saviour'* 

It is orily of late years and by the lij^it of w»-Tit«» I 
could not then f//rc«ec, that I iiavf; understood the pro- 
yUUattul \n\hmi(A; which the j/resence and action cHTthc 
young I'ole iri (question had ha/l in the tj/m</my of that 
miraculous event, If>.'nw! results, in the narrative for- 
ttierly written Tr/y me, a first and (^ittrnderahh lacune 
that / now think it '/f/j-'/rlime to fill up, >ro tliat the 
haml of Of/1 may be rfmiifttnUfi witJi still greater clear* 

m>ssi Haul »»tiU mow invfutoMo disstiuotmv^s, diivotiiig 
Mid vHuvtivlUn^ij tho ovvuts v>r vniv livos*, 

I luui ivl!»tov(, with tUo ovMisout of \n\- juvtv^^taut 
IViouvl. tho j'lvuuuout imvt he Imd t<»ko» iu tlio ovv>nt> 
Imti his Ma»»vv> ttt thsvt i>oviv>vt boiii^' without «uy publio 
iut\vi\Nst> I h«d not thv>»^«;ht it t\i>v\^S4»<uy to publish it, juid 
iu ui;*- tiurv^^tiou h«d s^vu>i»l\- sipokou of hiux us " M. do 

It hrts haji^HUtwl. howwoi\ Umt this* uauvo, so oaivfvdl\- 
lw>pt svvivt l\v uio. h«s siuoii Kvu divulgvHi by tho Fivuoh 
awd IKwsnigu i>i\v<s. so thut it has Ihwu\o |>ubUo piv^orty. 
WkI thut with tho «vlditiou of uuiuv- *u apoory^vhal dotail 
which «uv«v>t K> allowed t\> gain ovWit, This \>Uk-os uio, 
«t ixv\>sout, UttvW tho «bsivluh> uiw^ty of iutov\\>niug 
in tlie u«k.ui<^ of IVuth, ajul suWtitutiug for th« oviw^; of 
U'gvud tho puw swui s^iu^do wndity of lUstoiy, 

Ko««i>g, dottbttosj^ th«t s^nuo ray of humuu glory 
migt\( mttoot vui hi»tt *wd alttiet his humility, tho s^dutly 
olvl i««tt whoui IVvidonoo had also $>s*vviah.\l with tho 
history »xf uvy vnm\ ivt\isr\l, notwithstaudiug tt»y pivss- 
v«g svdvoitatious. h> allow nnf to sjH?ak of that piM* of it 
iu xrhioh h* havl Vhvw uuvrt* vUrov>tl>.- cwiKvruovi Th«? 
(HdiUo^vtivMi, vrithvHil uvy v^\xusout, of ditVotvxut fltagmexitsi 
v>f )ua)m$!L^n|t^t that I had loft with him aiid \rlu*jh \wro 
fvmud MMOt^ hiis |>!;>\vt^ aftiMf his d«LVjkthx roWsos^ nw? 
lit(L>«A:!«&«th ftvm u\Y ohli^tioa. I c«tt thowfi>w «x«tt- 
)>l«ti» tuy nawatixv atid )t«p>aitlh« fk^i^wl aitd invoilttutatx 
otuisisioti I ha^l 6xr«shadovr«d to tho iwadnyr iu aU th^ 
««.fiUMk$ of (W JL»^f «^'' i>«i'\sv^ by a do«hl« liuo of 
«k4$ «t ^ la$t ^vMN^ra^>h of Uiii «:^(>tt^r Mating tv^ my 

Allhoi^ thi» $tthsfeui«« of ^ 1iit$t it^tion is iu ik> 


way modified by these important additions, still they 
give to the whole, and to the different episodes of the 
narrative, an entirely new character, the special nature 
of which, we think, will not fail to strike anyone who 
has ever meditated on angelic interference, and divine 
intervention in the things of this lower world. 

Les Bbetoux, SBth March, 1883. 





. On the 31st of October, 1861, the eve of All Souls' 
Day, as the bells of the numerous churches and basilicas 
of Eome rang out to announce the Feast of the follow- 
ing day, I entered the Eternal City for the first time in 
my life. I was then thirty-three years of age, 

I shall say nothing of my religious emotion at find- 
ing myself in the midst of the glorious monuments that 
greet the eye on every side in the capital of the Christian 
world; of the long audience that the Pope, Pius the 
Ninth, deigned to grant me, nor of my interviews with 
the Cardinal Antonelli, all those events being foreign to 
the circumstances I am about to relate. 

A few days after my arrival I had the honour of 
being introduced to the Princess Sophia Odeschalchi. 
That great Eoman lady was of Lithuanian origin, and 
belonged to the illustrious family of the Branickis of 


The Princess Sophia had a nephew staying with her, 
a young Polish Count about twenty-six years of age, for 
whom the doctors had recommended the climate of 
Rome. I have seldom heard a more fascinating talker 
than Wladimir. His conversation was witty, sparkling, 
and often profound, and it acquired an additional charm 
from the high-bred turn of his head, and the play of his 
features, which were the most expressive I ever saw. 
His clear, soft eyes were penetrating as the point of a 
sword, his forehead broad, intellectual, and thoughtful. 
His mind, in the form of subtle remarks, keen observa- 
tions, or powerful theses, had so often passed through 
his delicate and sensitive lips, that they had, as it were, 
retained the permanent impression of it, and were ex- 
pressive even when silent. The irradiations of life were 
all the more closely concentrated in the delicate lines of 
his aristocratic face, that the rest of his body was 
afflicted with untimely infirmities. The Count "Wladi- 
mir had been weak and sickly from his childhood, 
and could only stand upright and move about in a 
sort of artificial or mechanical way. His bones, im- 
perfectly attached, would have been out of joint at 
every step but for the support of a surgical apparatus 
of steel springs fitted to the knees, by means of which, 
and the help of a cane, he succeeded in walking pretty 
easily, though with rather a jerking gait. He used, 
nevertheless, to take a walk every day along the Corso, 
or on the shady heights of Mount Pincio. 

His painful condition was often complicated by pains 
in his limbs and violent headaches, but he supported 
all with admirable fortitude and cheerful resignation. 
He had sought and found in the vivifying practices of 


Christian piety the source and principle of enduring 

This young Pole, who had grown up beneath the sun 
of Italy, united in his person all the captivating grace 
of the Slavonic race, and the vivacity of the children of 
the South. His powerful and supple intellect was apt 
in understanding and assimilating; and he was alike 
familiar with history, philosophy, politics, and theology. 

But his most irresistible attraction was the charm of 
his conversation. On that field of battle he excelled 
in the conquest of men ; he knew its strategy by heart, 
its marches and the counter-marches, its evolutions and 
circumvolutions, its calm demonstrations, its sudden 
surprises, nay, even its very ambushes. 

Possessing the enviable art of talking to a supreme 
degree, he was also an adept in the more difficult art of 
listening. He knew how to enter into the feelings of 
others, and bring them into harmony with his own ; 
he won his interlocutor by the way in which he lent 
him his attention and interested himself in what he was 
saying. Often when he wished to convince, he appeared 
to yield, he combatted by flight and vanquished by 
escaping. Everything served him for an arm ; decisive 
reasonings, clever jokes, subtle retorts, or well-turned 
compliments. When he could not immediately over- 
come an adversary, he undertook to gain him, or rather 
he tried both ways, and always succeeded, at least with 
the second, for though one might leave him without 
• being convinced or vanquished, none could see or hear 
him without being captivated. 

He expressed himself with equal facility in the 
Polish language, in Eitssian, Italian, English, and 


Prench; and indulged in a sort of cosmopolitan 
coq^uetry, that consisted in addressing his different 
friends in their national idiom. He spoke French, 
especially, with exquisite perfection, shading off his 
words, and turning his sentences with as much 
art and delicacy as Chamfort or Eivarol. He did not 
write it nearly so well. His pen, powerless to follow 
the rapid impromptu of his mind, stumbled, hesitated, 
and groped heavily along in vain efforts to keep pace 
with his thoughts. He was a conversationalist rather 
than a writer. 

We have already said that Count Wladimir was pro- 
foundly religious. He communicated every day, and, if 
my memory does not deceive me, he acquitted himself 
of the strict obligations of a third order, either that of 
Saint Francis, or Saint Dominic. Indeed, it was not 
necessary to frequent his society for very long to dis- 
cover that in his heart dwelt the Peace of the true 
believer; no earthly instinct seemed ever to have 
dimmed its purity, it appeared inaccessible to any 
but intellectual or spiritual sentiments. None had 
examined more deeply than he into the treaties, the 
revolutions, the wars, and the international events which 
constitute the history of modern Europe, and he disser- 
tated on them all with a superiority of judgment and a 
depth of thought, that recalled involuntarily to one's 
mind the Talleyrands and Metternichs and other great 
diplomatists of the beginning of the century. 

His exceptional piety, and his regular reading of cer- 
tain Offices, his wonderful intelligence, his extensive 
knowledge, his intimate acquaintance with all the moves 
of the political chess-board, his sparkling conversation, 


the native distinction of his manners and sentiments, all 
combined to form a most remarkable personage, a 
diamond cut in several facets. He at one and the same 
time, in him had something of the Priest, the Statesman, 
and the Nobleman. 

The portrait I have traced will explain my sudden 
friendship for him. To explain why he loved me in 
return would not be so easy; indeed, I shall not 
undertake to do so. Count Wladimir being a man of 
the world, and living in the world, was too prominently 
in view not to give rise to very opposite judgments 
and appreciations ; and if he had his enthusiasts he was 
also not without his contradictors. Not being able to 
deny the bright side of his highly-gifted nature, some 
few disenchanted people, sceptics (we wUl add envious 
persons too, that no one may be forgotten), kept obsti- 
nately whispering in my ear : 

"Are you sure that, like everything human, your 
gold medal has no reverse ? Does this gracefully at- 
tractive Pole possess as much firmness as grace, as much 
solidity as brilliance? He is an admirable theorist, 
would he be as strong in practice ?" 

" Has not the fascinating charm he exercises on all 
who approach him deluded him with the idea that if he 
gain an enemy to his person, he is more than half 
gained to his cause ? And does not the pursuit of such 
a result incline him sometimes to that extreme courtesy, 
and those too amiable advances which constitute what 
might be called the diplomacy of condescension, and 
the art of political politeness ? " 

" And does not that marvellous delicacy of analysis 
which, like a magnifying-glass, increases a hundred-fold 



the strength of his intellectual powers, contribute also 
to deceive himself precisely by the exaggerated relief 
it gives to the details he examines ? Just as the mic- 
roscope shows us the finest skin as rough as a file, or a 
hair enlarged to the size of a cable, may not Wladimir's 
perspicacity, in a similar way, occasionally expose him 
to error in the view he takes of persons or things, 
whether he consider their qualities or their defects? 
May it not lead him sometimes into excess of infatua- 
tion, sometimes into sudden defiance and abrupt change 
of opinion ? He who is so supple with his adversaries 
the more easily to ensnare them, would he accept a 
frank and sincere contradiction, without immediately 
taking offence as at an act of hostility ? Is the con- 
stancy of his friendship in proportion to its vivacity and 
warmth ? And is one sure with him of a lasting 
affection ? Or rather, as with his' ancestors, the Scy- 
thians, may not what appears a solid house, a secure- 
habitation, turn out to be simply a tent pitched in some 
halting-place, stationary sometimes for years together 
on the same spot, but always ready to disappear from 
one minute to another, at the least noise from afar that 
may strike on the Slav's ever anxious ear ? " 

I heard these rumours and depreciations without 
listening to them. Perhaps those who uttered them 
employed the magnifying-glass they spoke of to meta- 
morphose minute things into enormities, and impercep- 
tible blades of grass into forest trees ! 

But there is no love without faith. I listened only 
to the voice of deep attachment and the inclination of 
my heart, and I can render myself this justice that I 
believed in Wladimir without limit, and loved him 


without restriction. Our intimacy of the heart and 
mind soon became closer and closer. 

We generally met three times a-day. In the morning 
I went to see him, and have a few moments' chat, at 
mid-day we met for the second time in a restaurant of 
the Place d'Espagne, where we lunched together ; and 
after, if it was fine, we took a stroll, chatting the whUe 
on a thousand topics, beneath the warm winter sun that 
bathes Eome in its rays. In the evening I saw him 
again in the drawing-room of the Princess, his aunt. 

He was particular to accommodate the form of his 
language to the feelings that animated him, and the 
faniiliarity of our appellations clearly manifested the 
progress of our friendship. At the beginning of our 
acquaintance I naturally greeted by the name of " Mon- 
sieur le Comte" him whom everyone at the Palazzo 
Odeschalchi, his relatives excepted, called "II segnor 
Comte". But soon he objected to that, and I had to 
substitute " Man cher Comte " for the more ceremonious 
form. Before long that displeased him also ; and taking 
the opportunity offered by a note I had written him, he 
replied that he would receive no more letters from me 
unless they commenced " Mon cher ami " ; a condition 
too much in keeping with my own feelings for me to 
make any objection. But the expression " Mon cher 
ami " had soon to be replaced by the still more familiar 
one of " Wladimir ". Finally as the Princess Odes- 
chalchi and the, members of his family often called 
him by the pet name of his childhood, " Wladimiro " or 
" Miro" I also was required to make use of the diminu- 
tive, which I did aU the more willingly as in the archaic 
Latin of Plautus Miro means T admire, and indeed I 


admired the pure soul, the delicate and charming mind, 
and the radiant intellect as much as I loved their pos- 
sessor. If I thus allow my pen to linger over these 
memories it is because they are sweet to me and make 
my old heart glow when I recall them, even after an 
interval of twenty years ; and, in short, because it was 
necessary distinctly to point out from the beginning, in 
the interest of what is to foUow, how Providence had 
brought me, at that time, into connection with the 
young Count Wladimir, and how I had loved him sin- 
cerely and tenderly in those bygone days of our youth. 

I left Home in the beginning of 1862, with the in- 
tention of returning there the following autumn, and 
Wladimir and myself looked forward with pleasure to 
that time. 

But very soon after my return to Paris I was threatened 
with a calamity that appeared likely to upset all our 
plans. My eyes became alarmingly weak. 


I had always enjoyed excellent sight. I could dis- 
tinguish objects at an immense distance ; and could 
read any manuscript or print with the greatest facility, 
however close it might be. Whole nights of study had 
never caused me the least fatigue ; I was even amazed 
and delighted myself at the clearness and strength of 
my sight, which was at the same time so powerful and 
keen. I was therefore greatly surprised and cruelly 
disenchanted, when in the course of June and July of 
1862 I felt it getting gradually weaker, drooping heavily 
at night work, and at last becoming so useless that I 


was obliged to give up reading and writing. If I opened 
a book, I had no sooner read one or two lines, than ex- 
cessive fatigue and pain in the upper part of my eyes 
forced me to lay it down. I consulted several doctors ; 
amongst others two celebrated oculists, M. Desmares 
and M. Giraud-Teulon. Both declared that I was suffer- 
ing from hypersemia of the optic nerve. 

The prescriptions I followed did me no good what- 
ever. After a ferruginous regimen and a long period of 
rest, I was at last enabled one day to read and write for 
an hour or two in the afternoon, but on the following 
day I had fallen back into my previous state. Then I 
employed local remedies, cold douches on the eye-ball, 
cupping on the nape of the neck, a general hydropathic 
treatment and application of alcoholic lotions on the 
parts near the eye. All was useless. If, from time to 
time I obtained a little relief, it only lasted a few 
minutes; in short the disease began to assume the 
chronic character peculiar to incurable infirmities. 

I could use my eyes for nothing. I was ordered to 
avoid too great a light and the sight of too many colours. 
I never went out without taking the precaution of put- 
ting on blue spectacles with dark shields at the sides, 
and in short, in obedience to the doctor's advice I left 
Paris for the country, and went to stay with my mother 
at Coux on the banks of the Dordogne. A young lad 
whom I had taken for my secretary read books and 
newspapers to me and wrote at my dictation. 


It was now September, and I had been for three 
months in a state that was every day becoming more 


alarming. I was a prey to extreme despondency and 
lowness of spirits, which, however, I carefully concealed. 
My parents and friends on their side were full of 
serious apprehensions that they would not let me sus- 
pect ; we were all persuaded that my sight was lost, but 
we each tried to instil into the other a hope that we none 
of us entertained, and kept our secret fears in our own 

With the exception of a few rare instants of illusion 
such as one has sometimes, even in the most desperate 
cases, I no longer counted either on scientific help or on 
natural reaction. The crushing conviction that I was 
beyond'cure gradually took possession of my mind, and 
though I prayed, I asked nothing more of God than 
grace to be resigned to the trial He had sent me ; the 
bare idea of imploring a special intervention in my 
favour never even occurred to me. I was, besides, in- 
clined to think, with Blaise Pascal, that the time of 
those exceptional manifestations of divine power called 
miracles, was passed and gone; and. I often repeated 
to myself the melancholy lines of a blind poet of our 
parts : — 

" Comme la propMtie et comme les oracles, 
H4las ! il est pass6 1'heureux temps des miracles. 
Christ ne dit plus awx, morts : ' Levez-vous et marcJuz! 
Par Lui les yewc 4tein,ts ne seront plus touch&."* 

But around me and above me, a hidden Benefactor, like 
the angel Eaphael who protected Tobias, had taken pity 
on my anguish. 

* Lafon-Labatut. liisomnies et Regrets. 



Have you ever thought, dear reader, on the part 
taken by our Guardian Angels in the different actions of 
our lives. With what indefatigable perseverance that 
mysterious companion follows us from the cradle to the 
tomb ; from our first cry to our last breath. He has 
neither the right nor the power to violate our liberty, 
which is one of the indispensable conditions of our 
merits, but he concentrates all his efforts on directing 
our feelings in the right way, illuminating our thoughts, 
dissuading us from evil paths, showing us the right 
road, from which we were diverging, and bringing about 
circumstances that induce us to walk in it. 
• Sometimes our radiant Protector does all this alone, 
of himself, rousing in us a sudden intuition, inspiring 
us with some happy idea, inciting us to write such and 
such a letter, to make such and such a remark, to 
take such and such measures, things, in short, which 
may of themselves appear insignificant, but of which 
he knows the future bearing, and how they will be the 
first link in the chain of events and secondary causes 
that are to extricate us from our difficulties. At other 
times, this invisible brother of our souls calls on other 
Guardian Angels to come to his help, and together they 
concert the plan of a campaign divinely elaborated, 
having for its object the benevolent victory they hope 
to gain. Then it is that the fortunate inspiration occurs 
to us by the advice of a friend, by the reading of a 
borrowed book, by an unexpected meeting, or by the 
necessity of a journey which brings us, contrary to all 


previsions, at a certain place, at a certain hour, in con- 
tact with a certain person, whose influence must 
infallibly affect our own wills. 

And thus are these pure spirits ceaselessly working in 
the world to check the advance of Evil, enlarge the 
limits of Good, suggest fruitful resolutions, solicit our 
wills, and, when our wills resist, prepare favourable 
conjunctures, decisive incidents which, by a series of 
varied impulsions and indirect means, lead the mortal 
committed to their care towards the general or special 
event that God has foreordained. 

One of the most usual characteristics of the influence 
of our Good Angels, is that it is carefully hidden under 
natural appearances; the ordinary course of life, the 
fortuitous chances of business, or the eventualities of 
social intercourse. All that those divine messengers 
accomplish seems to be done of itself, so delicately do 
they touch the springs that determine us. While they 
are in reality everywhere, and mixed up with every- 
thing, one is conscious of them nowhere and in nothing. 
Their essence, superior to ours, is invisible, their power- 
ful arm is impalpable; their immense benefits are 
anonymous. Mingling with our humanity, these forces 
of the Almighty govern, direct, and dispose all things 
in silence and incognito. 

Afterwards, however, when their work is finished, it 
happens sometimes that the harmonious unfolding of 
successive events, the surprising concordance of every 
incident towards the same end, the minute juxtaposition 
of circumstances, the extraordinary choice of certain 
individualities as instruments and means, the rigorous 
precision of certain pre-ordained dates, in short, a thou- 


sand striking peculiarities reveal their secret interven- 
tion as surely as the regular and simultaneous movements 
of an army denote the presence of the of&cers and the 
general; or as the aspect of a building betrays the 
hand of the workman and renders evident the plan of 
the architect. The recalling of these truths, perhaps too 
little known or too often forgotten, is not a vain 
digression. It is a torch lighted and placed in the 
hands of the reader, that its rays may guide him on the 
road we are about to pursue. 

It is now time to speak of another friend, besides 
Wladimir. This friend is a compatriot, and our close 
intimacy dates from childhood. It was formed at college 
and continued through our youth. If my warm affection 
for Wladimir was at the enthusiastic period of all 
beginnings and all dawns, my friendship for Charles de 
Treycinet (for that was his name) had attained to the 
glowing hour of mid-day. He ignored none of my 
thoughts and feelings, and the secrets of his heart were 
not concealed from me. Our minds and dispositions, 
which in their nature were widely opposite, harmonised 
marvellously together, and fructified each other by their 
contact. More than once his heart has burned at my 
words; often my mind has been enlightened by his con- 
versation. How many evenings have we passed together 
on opposite sides of the hearth, discussing in their turn 
the different and redoubtable problems that for six thou- 
sand years have preoccupied the children of Adam, until 
time has been forgotten, and approaching day causing 


our lamp to pale, has surprised the two friends in 
earnest conversation on the mysteries of the present 
existence' and those of the life to come! 

My natural inclinations disposed me to retreat and 
solitude, his tendencies and aptitudes drew him amongst 
men and their more engrossing interests ; yet Charles 
could not imagine that we should ever be separated, 
either in our destinies or our roads through life ; and in 
his dreams of the future, my place was always at his 

Divergence of opinion, change of country, distant 
journeys, long absences, marriage, in short all the crises 
to which ordinary friendships so often succumb, had 
never affected ours. He was a Protestant, I a Catholic. 
He had known me at college when I had. lost my faith, 
and he had seen me become a believer again from my 
twentieth year. I was then single, and he married; 
his wife like himself, was a Protestant, and they lived 
at Bordeaux, where he was director of the works of the 
Southern Eailway. I lived sometimes in Paris, and 
sometimes in P^rigord. He was an eminent engineer 
and a distinguished mathematician, and he published 
volumes bristling with figures on the inclines and curves 
of the railroad, or on the metaphysics of mathematical 
calculations, whereas I was irresistibly drawn towards 
religious and literary studies. . . . But neither time, 
distance, diversity of opinion, nor opposition, had weak- 
ened our intimacy, and far or near, we were still the 
same old friends. 

So I wrote him from Coux, by the medium of my 
little secretary, a few melancholy lines, in which I con- 
fided my trouble to him, and expressed my fears of 


becoming quite blind. He happened at that moment 
to be at his father's at N^grepelisse in Tarn-et-Garonne. 
His answer was prompt. It reached me the loth of 
September, and surprised me extremely. This is what 
it contained : — 

' ' Mt dbae Friend, — Your few lines gave me great pleasure ; but 
as I have already told you, / long to see your own viriting. A few days 
ago, I passed tlirougli Lourdes (near Tarbes) on my way from Cauterets, 
and there I visited the celebrated Grotto ; I also heard such marvellous 
things about cures obtained by the water there, principally cures of 
diseases of the eyes, that I advise you very seriously to try it. Were I 
a Catholic and a believer like you, and suffering as you are, I should 
not hesitate to try the chance. If it is true that the sick have been 
suddenly cured there, you might hope to be one of the favoured num- 
ber ; and if it is not true, what do you risk in making the trial ? I 
may add that I have a little personal interest in the experiment. If it 
should succeed, what an important fact it would be for me to record. 
I should be the witness of a miraculous event, or at least of an event in 
which the person chiefly interested would be above suspicion. . . . 
Good-bye, dear friend let me know how you are, and try to arrange 
that we may soon meet. 

" Your old friend, 

" C. DB Fkbycinet. 
" Negkepemsse, ISfh Septemier, 1863." 

" It appears," he added, in a postscript, " that it is not 
necessary to go to Lourdes to take this water, you can 
have it sent to you. All you have to do is to write to 
the Cure of Lourdes. You must, of course, previously 
accomplish certain devotions; those naturally, I cannot 
indicate to you, but the Cur^ of Lourdes will tell you. 
Ask him, at the same time, to send you a little pamphlet, 
written by the Vicar-General of Tarbes, and relating 
such of the miraculous facts as have been authentically 

Such a letter from my friend was certainly calculated 


to astonish me. Charles de Freycinet was a man of 
a clear, positive, mathematical and naturally elevated 
mind, but, at the same time, very little inclined to fana- 
tical illusions ; with that he was a protestant. . . . 
Such advice as he had given me, therefore, coming from 
him, filled me with amazement. I resolved, however, 
not to follow it. 

" I almost fancy," I answered him (still through the 
medium of my little secretary) " that I am a little better 
to-day. If the amelioration continues I shall not, this 
time, have recourse to the extraordinary remedy you 
suggest, and for which, besides, I should not have the 
faith necessary." 

I must now confess, not without confusion, the secret 
motives of my resistance. 


De Freycinet's letter had had more effect on me than 
I was willing to acknowledge. His appeal to the logical 
consequences of my Catholic belief had roused my mind 
to a series of reflections and arguments which shook 
my scepticism and, by degrees, dispelled my faith in 
Pascal's ideas on the subject of contemporary miracles. 

"Why indeed," I asked myself, "should God's arm 
refuse to accomplish in our days the wonders that it 
wrought of old ? Is the Almighty's power weakened 
or His heart less compassionate for the sufferings of 
humanity ? According to Pascal the heathen nations 
required this proof. ... Is it, then, less necessary 
at the present time, when immense multitudes are daily 
rushing headlong into the abyss of impiety ? " 


Thus my thoughts were profoundly modified under 
the influence of considerations that an inward voice was 
constantly whispering to me ; and whatever T might plead 
as a pretext, my faith did not fail me, or rather failed 
me no longer. Without very well knowing what was 
meant by the Grotto and the Spring of Lourdes other- 
wise than by the hostile notices of some anti-christian 
newspapers, I felt convinced that God could manifest 
His power by miracles there as well as in many other 
places. Nay, more : after having frequently commented 
in my own mind on my friend's surprising letter, I began 
to feel, a sort of mysterious presentiment that if I had 
recourse to that water (said to have sprung up at the 
commands of an Apparition of the Blessed Virgin) I 
should be cured. But I own that what I dreaded was 
the responsibility of such an exceptional grace. " If 
ordinary medicine succeeds in curing me," I thought, " I 
shall be quits when the doctor is paid, that is, I shall 
find myself in the same position as everyone else. But 
if God delivers me by a miracle, by a direct and per- 
sonal intervention, that will be quite another affair. I 
shall be obliged to amend my life seriously and become 
a saint. Oh, that is impossible ! " 

And my miserable heart dreading its own weakness, 
refused the grace of God. 

Such was my reason for obstinately resisting the 
counsel that Providence, in its inscrutable designs, had 
sent me by a protestant, a heretic without the pale of 
the Church : to address myself directly to Heaven and 
implore the favour of a miracle. But my restlessness 
and resistance were in vain. In my own heart I felt a 
secret certainty that the science of man was powerless 


to cure me, that the Master I had so often offended 
would Himself restore my sight, and that in thus making 
me the gift of a new life, He would put me to the proof 
to see if I should employ it better. 

In the meantime my state remained the same if it 
did not get worse. 

I was just now speaking of good Angels and their 
celestial diplomacy in exciting and preparing occur- 
rences and meetings intended to overcome rebellious 
wills and dogged obstinacy. De Preycinet's letter not 
having decided me, they had now to lead me in some 
otlaer way to the distant spot and the exact hour ia 
which the divine trap was to be set. 

Let us watch their movements. "Were they desirous, 
this time, that their work should one day be revealed, 
and was it for that reason that they, so to speak, set 
their seal to it ? 

Perhaps. . . . 


The most expansive and communicative friendships 
and intimacies when together, are often the least 
inclined to correspondence when apart. From the 
very beginning of my malady, I had deferred having 
"Wladimir written to, because I felt a certain repug- 
nance in corresponding with hirn through a third person. 
It was Wladimir, therefore, who, the first, affectionately 
reproached me for my long silence, which he found in- 
explicable. His letter, received a week after Freycinet's, 
was dated from a German watering-place whither he 
had gone to follow a treatment. Unaware that I was 
m and in P^rigord, he expressed his joy at the prospect 


of seeing me when passing through Paris on his way 
back to Italy. He fixed no date for his return, but I 
presumed it would take place about the beginning of 
November. I have already related to what a degree 
this young Slav had attracted me, and how much I 
was attached to him. So that, although Coux is about 
a hundred and forty leagues distant from Paris, and a 
great part of that distance had to be done by coach, I 
resolved to undertake the journey that I might have 
the happiness of pressing his hand and cordially em- 
bracing him on his passage through Prance. 

My answer caused him both joy and pain, — joy, for 
the hope of meeting again delighted his heart, — pain, 
for though I touched but lightly on my condition and 
said nothing of its gravity for fear of making him 
anxious, the fact of my letter being written by the hand 
of another filled him with alarm. 

"My dear friend," he wrote uneasily, "what is the, 
matter with your eyeal It must ie something serious 
since it prevents your writing. Is it the same for 
reading ? 

" You cannot imagine how delighted I am at the 
thought of seeing you again ! And soon now : for I shall 
be in Paris towards the 25th of September, and shall 
remain about ten days, but cannot answer for longer. 

" I have not been well myself for the last fortnight. I 
suffer- from violent headache which makes me good for 
nothing. I recommend myself and all that is dear to 
me in this world to your prayers ; those I reserve for 
you are not my least fervent ones. May God keep us ! 


In consequence of the slowness of the post at that 


time, this letter, which left Baden-Baden the 20th of 
September, did not reach me till the 24th or 25th, that 
is, not till the time when Wladimir was doubtless 
already in Paris. It rather upset my plans ; for having 
calculated that he would pass all the month of October 
at his watering-place, I thought I had five or six weeks 
before me ! whereas, if I wanted to see him, I must now 
start at once, to the great prejudice of certain impor- 
tant family affairs which detained me in P^gord. . . . 
Under different circumstances I should not have hesi- 
tated to remain there, but my friendship for Wladimir 
was stronger than all other considerations, and I in- 
formed him that I would surmount every personal 
obstacle, asking him for a delay of three or four days 
only, to arrange all that was most urgent. 




I arrived at Paris by the mail train, at about half -past 
four in the morning. The date was the ^nd October, 
1862, and the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels : a 
circumstance to which I paid no attention whatever. 
Indeed, I did not give those invisible spirits a single 

But although I forgot them, they remembered me. 
On that day in which the Church especially honours 
and invokes them, they directed my every step and the 
steps of those whom God had chosen to employ, in His 
work of mercy. 

And if I retrace these different peculiarities with 
such minute and apparently useless precision, if I have 
shown that my friendship for the young Polish Count 
and our mutual desire to meet again was the sole cause 
of my journey ; if I have quoted his letters ; and if I 
still continue my infinitesimal analysis some little time 
longer, it is because these details were the hidden and 
imperceptible threads that, moved by the hands of the 
Divine Messengers, brought me infallibly to the point 
determined by them. 

My long coach journey, followed by a fatiguing night 
in the train, had thoroughly tired me out. I went to 
bed immediately on reaching my apartment in the rue 



de Seine, and did not wake till twelve o'clock the 
following day. Then only did I notice on the mantle- 
piece a note from Wladimir, which had been waiting 
for me two or three days. It ran as foUows : — 

"My Dbae Fkiend, — I received your letter on Saturday, too late 
to write to you at Coux. I hasten therefore to send you a word of 
gratitude to your lodgings. Thank you a thousand times for coming 
so soon. ... I will not write more now, but shall expect you at 
9 o'clock the morning of your arrival. I embrace you and pray for 
you. "W. 

"Hotel Eastadt, rue Neuve St. Augustin.'' 

I dressed hastily, breakfasted in five minutes ; and 
springing into a cab, hurried the. coachman to the rue 
Neuve Saint Augustin, hoping Wladimir would still be 
there and that I should find him after his luncheon. 

I was disappointed. Not having had any news of 
me, and not seeing me come in, after having vainly waited 
for me all the morning, he concluded that I was still in 
Perigord, or on the road ; and had gone out about one 
o'clock. They did not think he would come back to 
the hotel before night. He usually, they said, stayed 
out all day, dining and spending the evening with his 
friends. That did not surprise me. The young Count 
knew all the Polish colony in Paris; and I had no 
doubt he was, in all probability, wearing himself out in 
visits amongst his numerous acquaintances. I left my 
card, therefore, with a few words written on it, and 
turned my steps towards the Boulevards. It was then 
about half-past one. 

I had hardly left the Hotel Piastadt when Wladimir 
returned, contrary to his custom, after a short walk. 
He thought I might have arrived in Paris without having 
had the time to inform him, and he had come back in 


the vague hope of meeting me. Vexed at having missed 
me, he lost not a second in writing me the following 
hasty lines, scribbled so hurriedly that a few letters 
stuck fast, here and there, in the pen. That little note, 
apparently so insignificant, was destined to become in 
after years an historical document. In that character 
we reproduce it here by photogravure ; first giving the 
printed text to help the reader to decipher it. 

" Deak Fkiend, — How unlucky ! Paris drives me distracted, and 
I hardly know what I am doing. I embrace you, which is the only 
proof I can offer that I am still in my senses; ;I expect you at half- 
past one to-morrow. If you cannot comie,-'let us say the day after 
to-morrow at nine in the morning. That will suit you, I hope. 

"Sens nobiscum. 

" a rue Neuve Saint Augustin, Eastadt." 

"Chek ami, — Quel guignon ! Paris me rend fou, je ne sais y 
sufBre. Je vous embrasse, ee qui est la seule preuve oontraire au 
manque de sens commun. 

" Je vous attends a une heure et demie, demain. Si vous ne le 
pouviez pas, alors aprfes-demain neuf heures du matin, n'est ce pas ? 

"Dens nobiscum, 

"44 rue Neuve Saint Augustin, Eastadt." 

This hasty autograph, in which even the signature was 
forgotten, was simply dated thus : Paris, the Snd, and 
bore neither the indication of the month nor the year. 

But as, in the designs of Providence, that indication 
was necessary and important, it happened that, in his 
room at the hotel, Wladimir could not find a single 
envelope. He was therefore obliged to fold his letter in 
the old-fashioned way, so that, at the post ofiice (as can 
be seen in the facsimile oh the opposite page), the 
irrefutable stamp was of&cially set on the very paper of 
the letter, witnessiag to the place, the year, the day, 
and the hour. Paris, 5" lev4e, 2 Octdbre, 62. The fifth 


distribution of the Paris Post includes the letters posted 
between the hours of half-past one and half-past three. 
It was, then, the 2nd October, 1862, and the Feast of 
the Holy Guardian Angels. Over the whole surface of 
the Christian world, the Catholic Church, in her 
admirable Liturgy, had renewed, during the Holy 
Sacrifice, the promise of the sacred books : — 

" Thus saith the Lord : Behold I will send my Angel, 
who shall go before thee and keep thee in thy journey, 
and bring thee into the place thai I have prepared." * 

At that very moment those prophetic words were 
being accomplished for me without my knowledge. 


While Wladimir was writing the letter just quoted 
and reproduced, I sauntered with melancholy step along 
the Boulevards, in the direction of the Madeleine. 
Seeing that I had a long afternoon before me, it 
occurred to me that I might go and enquire if my friend 
Preycinet happened to be in Paris. I therefore followed 
the quays towards the quarter of the Gros-CaiUou, 
where his sister lived. 

Freycinet had just arrived the previous evening, or 
that very morning, and was in the drawing-room when 
I entered. His first words were to enquire after my 

" Alas ! my eyes are still in the same state, and I 
begin to fear that they are lost for ever." 

* Scec didt Dominus I)e,us : Ecce ego mittam Angelum meum, qui 
prcecedet te et custodial in via et introducat in locum quern paravi. 
Roman Missal. 2nd Ootoljer. Feast of the Guardian Angels. Epistle 
of the Mass. 


" But why do you not give my remedy a trial ? " asked 
my friend. " Something tells me you will be cured." 

" Bah ! " replied I. " I must own that, without 
exactly denying the fact, and without being hostile to 
it, I have no great faith in all these miraculous waters 
and pretended Apparitions. They are possible, and I 
have no objection to make to them ; but, not having 
examined the question, I can neither affirm nor dispute 
it : it is beyond me. And, in short, I do not wish to 
have recourse to the means you propose." 

" Your objections are worth nothing," he said. " Ac- 
cording to your religious principles you ought to believe, 
and in point of fact you do believe, in the possibility of 
such things. Why should you not try the experiment ? 
What difference can it make to you ? In any case it 
can do you no harm for the water is natural, chemically 
composed like ordinary water. Does it not strike you 
as singular that recourse to the Blessed Virgin should 
be thus persistently urged on you by a Protestant ? I 
declare to you beforehand : should you be cured, it will 
be a terrible argument against me." 

De Freyeinet's sister, who is a fervent Catholic, added 
her persuasions to his. I was driven to my last en- 

" Well," I said, " I will now honestly reveal the whole 
truth to you, and take you into my most secret confi- 
dence. I am not wanting in faith ; but I am a prey to 
all sorts of contradictions and weaknesses, which are, 
alas ! part and parcel of the most vital and sensitive 
fibres of my frail nature. For example, a miracle of 
which I might be the object, would oblige me to 
sacrifice everything and become a saint. It would be 


a terrible responsibility, and I am so cowardly that the 
thought of it makes me tremble. With a doctor, I 
should be quit for a little money ; but if God cures 
me, what may He not exact of me in return ? I know 
that all this is contemptible, but such is the wretched 
pusOlanimity of my heart. You thought my faith 
wavered; that I feared not to see the miracle take place. 
Do not deceive yourselves, my only fear is that it 
should succeed." 

My friend strove to convince me that, on one hand, I 
exaggerated the responsibility of which I spoke, and, on 
the other, made too light of it. 

" Virtue is not less compulsory for you now," he said, 
"than it would be after the miracle. Besides, even 
if a doctor cured you, it would be equally by the grace 
of God, and thus your scruples would have the same 
reason for struggling against your weaknesses or your 

All that did not seem to me very clear, and Freycinet 
probably well knew that his reasoning was specious; 
but he wished to calm my apprehensions to the best of 
his power, and get me to follow his advice, reserving to 
himself the faculty of reminding me later on of the 
grave responsibility concerning which he now exerted 
himself to reassure me. Vainly I tried to struggle 
against the pressure brought to bear upon me. Weary 
of resistance, I at last gave way. 

" As soon as I can get a secretary," I said to de Frey- 
cinet, " I will write to Lourdes. I only arrived to-day, 
and I have not had the time to look for one." 

" I will be your secretary ! " cried he. 

" Very well. So be it. To-morrow we will breakfast 


together at the Caf^ Foy, and I will dictate a letter to 
yoii after dejeuner." 

"Why not at oncd ?:" replied he, "we shall gain a 

Pen, ink, and paper were lying on a table hard by. 
Freycinet took up the pen. 

" Well," said he, " I am waiting for you. But first, 
what is the day of the month 1 " 

" The 2nd October," I replied. 

The Snd October, 1862. Feast of the Holy Guardian 
Angels ! It was part of the economy of the divine 
plan, that the letter we were about to send to the Cur^ of 
Lourdes should bear exactly the same date as Wladimir's 
letter already given. . . . Why ? . . . 

I began to dictate and Freycinet to write. 

" Paeis, Stid October, 186Z. 

"MoNsiEUK LE CUE^,— I have heard that the water of Lourdes 
works miracles, and it will not much surprise you if I now ask it to 
add one more to the list. For the last two or three months my sight 
has been growing excessively weak, from what cause I cannot tell, hut 
suppose it to result from over-anxiety about family and business affairs. 
I find it impossible to read or write two lines at a time without imme- 
diately experiencing an excessive fatigue, which obliges me to stop. 

" I have consulted the- most eminent oculists of Paris, Dr. Des- 
mares and M. Giraud-Teulon ; the remedies they have prescribed, so 
far from doing me any good, have, I almost think, aggravated the evil. 

" In this state. Monsieur le Gwi, I write to beg you to send me, at 
your earliest convenience, the quantity of water from the Grotto of 
Lourdes that you may consider necessary for my malady. I am pre- 
paring myself to use it by the efforts that the Almighty requires of us, 
when we seek to obtain at His hands some signal favour. May this 
privileged water, in restoring my sight, cure my soul also of more 
than one blindness that I deplore without knowing how to remedy it. 

"You will oblige me much by adding to the pajcel the pamphlet 
published at Tarbes, and by letting me know what I am indebted to 
you. The amount shall then be remitted by return of post. 


' ' I beg you, Monsieur U Curd, to receive my thanks in advance, 
and the assurance of my most respectful sentiments. " 

" And now," cried de Freycinet, " the letter is written ! 
You have but to sign it." 

I took the pen, and wrote my name and address : — 

" Henei Lasseere, 

" Eue de Seine, 95, k Paris." 

I give here a reproduction by photogravure, of the 
fac-simile of a document which proves, with irrefutable 
authenticity, the deplorable state to which I was re- 


" Pabis, 2 SJrc, 186S. 

" Monsieur lb Cub^, — L'eau de Lourdes fait des miracles, et vous 
ne serez point surpris que je vienue lui en demander un de plus. Depnis 
deux on trois mois ma vue s'est excessivement affaiblie, je ne sais par 
q^uelle cause ; je suppose pourtant que c'est par suite de vives prfoccu- 
pations d' et d' esprit. II m'est devenu impossible de lire ou d'ecrire 
saus ^prouver dte les premieres lignes une . insurmOntable fatigue qui 
m'emp§che de continuer. 

" J'ai consults i Paris les spdoialistes les plus ^miuents, Mr. le Docteur 
Desmares et M. Giraud-Teulon ; leurs remedes ne m'ont rien fait et 
parfois m§me U me semble qu'ils ont aggravd le mal. 

"C'est dans cet etat que je viens, Monsieur le Cur^ vous prier de 
m'envoyer le plus t6t possible la quantite d'eau de la Grotte de Lourdes 
que vous jugerez necessaire pour ma maladie. Je me prepare a en faire 
usage dans les dispositions ou' Dieu veut que nous soyons pour obtenir 
une si grande favour ; et je souhaite que cette eau privilegiee, en me 
rendant I'usage de mes yeux, gu&isse aussi plus d'un aveuglemeut de 
mon S,me que je deplore saus y pouvoir porter remede. 

" Je vous serai reconnaissant en me faisant cet envoi, d'y joindre la 
brochure publiee par I'Ev^ch^ de Tarbes et de m' indiquer le montant 
des frais que vous aurez faits pour moi et dent jo vous enverrai le rem- 
boursement par le retour du courrier. 

" Veuillez agr^er. Monsieur le Cur^ aveo mes remerciments anticip^s 
I'assurance de mes sentiments tris-respectueux. 

"Rm de Seine, 95, a Paris." " Henei Lessberb. 

"<-«- "Ml-Ot^ t.4jL40Cj *-*j«JOl_ 'J* ^.<je_ / C-* 

ttx. eW^ i^'Oe.i.Ltx. <j.K.t.AO)oc^cL £>yL^ uUtA. act- ^C'«-«4x,fez_ 
^c^ e^ t.t-.'UZA.KtjLnl- y^:^ COCKi u-^^ <»-' ^'OtJ'OiJ 

y^'-iUL ^'Ct-tJLff «. cite/ ^^'^•-^'^~/'' *■«-*>" <"4»^ <3<^<iV^u.^ 


That letter, written by rreycinet and signed by me, 
was immediately taken to the post.* 

Thus ended the day of the 2nd of October, 1862, and 
the mysterious Feast of the Guardian Angels. They 
had attained their end, which was to place me straight 
into the hands of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

On the morrow Freycinet came to see me. 

" My dear Lasserre," he said, " since the die is cast, 
and you have made up your mind to try and obtain a 
miracle, you must bring yourself into the necessary 
state of grace without which the attempt will be vain. 
Pray go to confession ; let your soul be properly pre- 
pared; accomplish the devotions commanded by your 
religion. You must quite understand that these things 
are absolutely indispensable." 

'■ You are undoubtedly right," I replied, " and I am 
quite of your opinion. But you must own that you are 
a singular protestant. A few days ago you were preach- 
ing faith to me ; now you are preaching rehgious prac- 
tices. Our parts are strangely reversed, and anyone 
who could hear us, you the Protestant and me the 
Catholic, would be mightily astonished. I cannot con- 
ceal, alas ! that the impression produced would not be 
in my favour." 

"I am a scientific man," returned Freycinet, "and 
since we are trying an experiment we must strictly 
observe all its rules. I reason as in Natural Science or 

* Fifteen years later, in 1877, after the death of Mgr. Peyramale, 
Cure of Lourdes, the original of the letter was found amongst his papers 
and returned to me. Thus I have now been able to publish the text 
of which I had forgotten the exact terms. The word ripondu written 
across the top of the first page is in the handwriting of Mgr. Peyramale. 


To my shame be it said, I did not at all prepare 
myself as my judicious friend had so wisely advised me 
to do. I was in a moral crisis and the state of my soul 
was bad. My mind was deeply troubled, agitated, and 
inclined to evil. 

Still I recognised the necessity of going and throwing 
myself at the feet of the Priest ! But not having com- 
mitted any of those gross and material faults against 
which the mind suddenly revolts, I put it off from day 
to day. Human nature rebels more easily against the 
sacrament during the temptation than when it has com- 
mitted the fault by which it is abased and humiliated. 
It is more difficult to struggle and resist than to ask 
pardon after the defeat. Who has not experienced 
this? . . . 


I divided my time between Wladimir and Freyciuet. 
But although I had come to Paris expressly to meet 
the former, it was of the latter I saw the most; for 
Wladimir was unfortunately taken up, to his own annoy- 
ance as much as to mine, by the duties and obligations 
of social intercourse. 

" Mon trfes cher " (it was thus he usually addressed 
me), " Mon tr^s cher," he would say, " I am like Saint 
Paul, I do not do what I would, and what I do, I detest. 
I should like so much to pass all my time with you and 
enjoy something of the delights of intimacy, but instead 
of that, I am obliged to lavish and waste the greater 
part of my time with a crowd of uninteresting people 
most of whom are mortally dreary." 

" Those are the pleasures of the world," I answered 


laughing : " according to my friend Freycinet, they 
generally consist in ' horing oneself with people that 
one bores '." 

" Who is your friend Freycinet ? " 

" He is a man a hundred times cleverer than I, and 
almost as clever as you. Of a clear, penetrating intel- 
lect, and in search of the Truth." 

" In search of the Truth. Does he not, then, possess 

"Not altogether. But he is seeking it. He is a 
Protestant, or rather, simply a philosopher. Shall I in- 
troduce him to you ? Unless I am much deceived you 
would be delighted with each other." 

" Impossible, mon tres cher, I am but passing through 
Paris, and I am already crushed under the weight of 
my social obligations. If your friend is such as you 
describe him to be, I shall gain nothing by knowing 
him, but an additional regret in leaving you." 

" Look here," resimied Wladimir. " Could you not 
come to Eome in spite of the bad state of your eyes ? 
You could easily find a secretary there." 

" Alas, dear Miro, how I should like it, and how I 
should enjoy resuming our delightful life of last winter ! 
But that wish is only a dream. Yes, a dream ! Unless, 
indeed, I obtain a miracle, which, by the advice of my 
friend Freycinet, I have resolved to solicit of the Blessed 

" What ! Why, you told me he was a Protestant ! " 

" And so he is." 

" And he gives you such advice as that ? " 

" Certainly." 

I told him all about the trial I proposed to make. 


at the same time recommending myself to his fervent 

But Wladimir knew that miracles are rare, and, not- 
withstanding his sincere piety and lively faith, he did 
not seem to build up any great hopes on this recourse 
to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Apparitions of Mary at 
the Grotto of Massabiella, and the miraculous cures 
already obtained, were not yet generally known, and it 
was only later on, that universal rumour spreading 
through the entire universe, incited people to hope in 
that blessed name. No pilgrimage had as yet answered 
the voice of Our Lady of Lourdes, asking for proces- 
sions ; and the pious crowds which now flock to the 
celebrated Spring did not direct their steps thither till 
some years afterwards. 




About a week passed in this way, and then Wladimir 
set off on the road to Eome. 

Every time Ereycinet saw me, he enquired if I had 
had any news of the miraculous water. A letter from 
the Cur4 of Lourdes soon arrived, informing me that 
the water of the Grotto had heen forwarded, and would 
reach me before long. 

We waited impatiently for its arrival ; but, wUl it be 
believed that my Protestant friend's anxiety was far 
greater than my own ? One morning — it was the Friday, 
10th October, 1862 — I was waiting for Ereycinet in the 
Gal^rie d'Orleans at the Palais-Eoyal. We were going 
to lunch together. 

As I was first on the spot, I looked in at the different 
shop windows of the GalMe, and read on the shop- 
front of Dentu's library, two or three advertisements of 
new books. My eyes immediately began aching at the 
sight of the large print and were overwhelmed with 
fatigue. This little incident depressed me extremely, 
for it showed me more clearly than ever the extent of 
my misfortune. 

In the afternoon, I dictated two or three letters to 
Ereyciaet, and left him at four o'clock to return home. 
As I was going upstairs, the concierge called me. 


" Here is a parcel for you from the railway," lie said, 
showing me a little white wooden box, on which was 
written my address and the words, " l^atural Water," 
added probably for the information of the Custom 
House. It was the water from Lourdes. 

My heart beat wildly, but I maintained an outward 

" Very well," I said to the concierge, " I will take it 
presently." I went out again into the street, where I 
walked up and down for some time in great agitation. 

" The matter is becoming serious," I thought ; " Frey- 
cinet was right, I must prepare myself. Unless I purify 
my conscience, I really cannot ask God to work a 
miracle in my favour ; for it is not possible to implore 
such a grace of Him, when my heart is filled with 
voluntary sins, — I must make an effort to heal my soul, 
before I beseech him to cure my body." 

Turning over these grave considerations in my mind, 
I directed my steps towards the house of my confessor, 
the Abb^ Ferrand de Missol, who lived in my neigh- 
bourhood. Fortunately, I was sure to find him, for it 
was Friday, and I knew he always remained at home 
on that day. 

At home he certainly was, but a number of people 
were already waiting for him in his ante-room, and 
would naturally see him before me. Besides which, a 
member of his family had unexpectedly arrived. His 
servant gave me all these details, and advised me to 
come back after his dinner, about seven o'clock. 

I resigned myself to that course. 

On the step of the street door I stopped. My mind 
under the influence of a singular reaction, was a prey 


to a hundred worldly ideas. The evil spirits were 
working on their side, and I wavered between the wish 
to go and make a visit and the thought of going back 
home to pray. My inclinations were strongly on the 
side of the amusement, but a sacred and paternal voice, a 
voice that seemed weak only because I was so little 
accustomed to heed it, called me to meditation and 
prayer. I hesitated several minutes. . . . 

Finally the right inclination was the strongest, and I 
turned down the rue de Seine. 

I took the little box, to which was attached a notice 
on the Apparitions, from my concierge, and ran up- 

When I got into my room I knelt at the side of my 
bed, and, all unworthy as I was to turn my eyes to 
heaven or speak to God, I prayed. 

Then I rose. On coming in I had placed the box 
and the little book on the chimney-piece. Every 
minute I turned to look at the case containing the 
mysterious water, and I had a presentiment that some- 
thing great was about to happen in that solitary room. 
I was afraid' to touch with my unsanctified hands the 
box which held the sacred liquid ; on the other side, I 
was strangely tempted to open it and ask for my cure, 
even before the confession that I intended making that 
evening. The inward struggle lasted a certain time, 
how long I could not precisely say; it ended by a 

" Yes, Lord ! " I cried, " I am a miserable sinner, 
unworthy to raise my voice to You or to touch a thing 
that You have blessed. But the very excess of my 
misery must excite Your compassion. Lord! I fly to 


You and to the Blessed Virgin Mary full of faith and 
confidence, and out of the depths I cry to You. This 
evening I will confess my sins to Your minister, but my 
faith cannot and will not wait. Pardon me, Lord, 
and heal me. And you, Mother of Mercy, deign to 
come to the help of your unhappy child ! " 

Having comforted myself by this appeal to the 
Divine goodness, I dared to open the little box. Inside 
I found a bottle of limpid water, carefully packed. I 
took out the cork and poured some of the water into a 
cup, then I took a towel from my drawer. All these 
ordinary preparations that I went through with minute 
care were marked, I remember, by a secret solemnity 
that struck me at the time, as I came and went in my 
room. I was not alone in that room, manifestly the 
presence of God was there, and the Blessed Virgin 
whom I had invoked was probably there too. 

A warm and vivifying faith had descended into my 
heart and inflamed my soul. 

When all was ready I knelt down again. 

" Blessed Virgin Mary, have pity on me, and heal 
me of my blindness, moral and physical ! " 

And in pronouncing these words with a heart fuU of 
confidence, I rubbed my eyes and forehead with the 
towel I had dipped in the water of Lourdes. The 
action did not occupy thirty seconds. 

Judge of my amazement, I might almost say my 
terror! I had hardly touched my eyes and forehead 
with the miraculous water when I felt myself cured, 
suddenly, abruptly, without transition, and with such 
rapidity, that in my imperfect language I can only 
compare it to a flash of lightning. By a strange contra- 


diction of human nature, I had believed my faith which 
promised my cure, and now I could not believe my eyes, 
which assured me that my cure was accomplished! 
No ! I could not believe my senses. So much so, that 
I fell into the sin of Moses and struck the rock twice. 
I continued to pray and bathe my eyes, not daring to 
put my cure to the proof. In about ten minutes, 
however, the vital energy that flooded my eyes left 
me no longer in doubt. 

" I am cured ! " I cried. 

And I ran to my book-case to reach a book and read 
— but I stopped. 

"No! no! it is not any book I can read at this 
moment ! " 

I took from my mantelpiece the pamphlet relative 
to the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, which 
had been sent with the case containing the water. 
Surely that was but justice. I read a. hundred and four 
pages without stopping, and without experiencing the 
least fatigue ; whereas twenty minutes before I could 
not, have read three lines. 

And if I was obliged to stop at the hundred and 
fourth page, it was because it was five-and-twenty 
minutes to six in the evening, and at that hour on the 
10th of October, it is almost night in Paris. When I 
shut the book they were lighting the gas in the shops. 
That evening I went to confession and told the Abb^ 
Ferrand de Missol of the amazing grace the Blessed 
Virgin had vouchsafed me. He allowed me to com- 
municate the following morning in thanksgiving to God, 
and in view of strengthening the resolutions with 
which such an event would naturally inspire me. 




As I have already said, Wladimir had left Paris. 

Astonishing consequences ! It was because Wladi- 
mir, returning from the German Grand Duchy had to 
pass through Paris, that I hastened up from the coimtry 
to see him. If Wladimir's journey had not called me 
to the Capital I should have remained in P^rigord and 
should not have been brought into the way of that 
interview with my old friend Freycinet, which was to be 
so fraught with extraordinary results. That is not all. 
If on the day of my arrival, the 2nd October, I had 
found Wladimir at his hotel at half-past one ; if just at 
that moment he had not gone out for a turn of twenty 
minutes or half an hour, I should not have thought of 
enquiring about Freycinet and should not have gone 
(almost to kill time) to the house where I met him and 
where his conversation decided me. ... In a word, 
I should, in all probability, have allowed the moment of 
grace and the divine opportunity to escape me. 

And the date of the 2nd October is precisely, in the 
Catholic calendar, the universal feast of the Guardian 
Angels, and the day of their greatest influence on 
earth. . . . 

In the delicate arrangements of all these conjunctures, 
— in the marvellous disposal of all the details, — the 
long and gradual preparation of circumstances which 
were to lead me on the road to the Miracle, — the 
masterly dovetailing of aU the incidents and their 
constant tendence to the same object — the careful 
elaboration of hours and midutes, — the strange choice 



of the day for the decisive action on my rebellious will ; 
who, Lord, would not recognise the hand, celestially 
intelligent, and tenderly maternal, of Your heavenly 
messengers, invisibly mixed up with the life and actions 
of Your human creatures ? . . . Yes, truly, Lord, 
the intervention of Your holy angels is evident to the 
simplest regard of believing reason : — but, beyond the 
material benefaction of my sight restored, had You not, 
Lord, another object and other inscrutable intentions 
far above the powers of my mind to investigate ? 





During the two days that succeeded the Miracle, 
I continued to bathe my eyes with the water of 
Lourdes, expressing, at the same time, by a vocal prayer 
my feelings of gratitude. But, by degrees, I came to 
consider the excellent state of my sight as an acquired 
fact, a clear profit in my favour requiring no more 
prolonged thanksgivings or unlimited prayers. I had 
confessed and communicated, I therefore soon began to 
consider myself quit, and resume the usual indifference 
of my customary way of life. In full possession of the 
benefit, I began, alas ! to be ungrateful towards the 

rive days after my cure, on the 15th October, I 
made, in the afternoon, a rather long visit ; and it 
happened that in the heat of animated conversation, 
something like a bad vapour, a moral miasma, rising up 
in my heart, tempted me to say things, on the subject of 
which my duty imposed the most absolute silence. 

At that moment, the grace which God had so 
marvellously and so recently granted me presented 
itself to my memory. " Wretch ! " I thought, " will you 
now deliberately offend God ? " 


A secret but terrible struggle took place in my 
trembling soul while I continued talking. Good and 
evil assailed me with equal force. For a few words to 
be uttered or not, an invisible and desperate combat 
was going on within me between the heavenly armies 
and the infernal legions. We read sometimes in history 
of two opposing forces concentrating all their efforts, 
and fighting desperately for some old ruined barn or 
barren hill, or clump of trees ; the fate of two great 
nations being decided by the victory gained on a spot 
apparently so narrow, so insignificant, so valueless. In 
one of Napoleon's great battles where his fate was at 
issue, all depended on the storming of a mill occupied 
by the enemy. To leave them that mill was to lose the 
empire; on the other hand, to get possession of it was to 
conquer the world. 

A similar and equally formidable battle was raging 
in my heart at that instant. That word to be uttered 
or rejected had roused all the powers of heaven and hell 
to mortal combat in the lists of my soul. And my 
will, master of itself in every way, independent and 
calm in the midst of my conscience that God had stirred 
up against myself, and my passions that the arch-fiend 
was lashing to a fury ; my will, free and tranquil, could 
decide the victory as it pleased. I had the baseness to 
give that victory to my passion — to drive God away. 
I spoke. 

The struggle had lasted so long that my fault was 
not the result of a surprise or a sudden thoughtless 
movement. It was committed coldly and dehberately. 
In perpetrating it I measured all the extent of its 
gravity, but I would do it. 



A man of Freycinet's elevated mind would naturally 
be much struck loj the miracle of my cure in which 
Providence had given him so direct a share ; and I 
regret that motives of discretion and delicacy prevent 
my stopping an instant, at this point of my narrative, to 
contemplate the image evoked in my memory of the 
friend of my youth meditating on the extraordinary 
event which had taken place under his eyes. I regret 
to be obliged to limit myself to my own history. 

I must, however, restore to its true proportions an 
incident revealed since that time and most erroneously 
related by the newspapers. 

A few days after the miraculous event of which I 
had been the object, Freycinet expressed a desire to 
make the acquaintance of an eminent Eeligious of whom 
I had often spoken to him, the illustrious Dom Gu^ran- 
ger, Abbot of Solesmes. I had several times been, for 
weeks together, the guest of the Benedictines, and the 
E. F. Abbot honoured me with a paternal affection. I 
was therefore delighted to accompany my friends M. 
and Mme. de Freycinet and introduce them to him. 

We left Paris on the Wednesday evening, 15th of 

Among the buildings of the Abbey of Solesmes is a 
tower reserved for guests which I was in the habit of 
occupying during my visits to the Benedictines. This 
time 1 had my usual room in it, but, the monastic rule 
forbidding the reception of women within the cloister 
walls, my friends could not lodge in the tower with me. 


Dom Gu^ranger, however, would not permit them to 
go to the village inn. He hospitably placed them in a 
house near at hand belonging to the Monastery. Every 
day the Brother Cellarer sent them their meals prepared 
in the Monastery kitchen at the same time as those of 
the monks. 

The Father Abbot had long and frequent conversa- 
tions with them. He was delighted with them, and 
they with him. By the elevation of his thoughts, 
his prodigious knowledge, his amiable simplicity and 
the distinction of his manners, that Monk, so austere 
with himself, so strict according to report and so 
inflexible in his orthodoxy, produced on Freycinet an 
impression of admiring surprise. Notwithstanding the 
description I had given of him, he had expected to find 
in Dom Gueranger a rather severe rigorist wanting to 
force his belief on everybody; and he met instead, 
a man full of cordial tolerance and scrupulous respect 
for the liberty and opinions of others. In accepting 
the hospitality of the Monastery, my Protestant friend 
had naturally expected to live as the Monks did; 
if not according to all the observances of that modern 
Desert, at least in obedience to the Catholic precepts 
relative to abstinence from meat on certain fixed days. 
But on the morrow of his arrival, which was a Friday, 
he saw a Lay-Brother place a roast fowl on the table, 
. . . Dom Gueranger entering towards the end of 
the meal, Freycinet expressed his surprise, considering 
in what place he was staying, at seeing such a dish on 
such a day. 

"The Commandments of the Church only oblige 
those within the pale of the Church," replied the old 


man with a gentle smile ; " in becoming my guests you 
have not ceased to be your own masters. Por which 
reason I gave orders that you should be served as you 
would have been in your own house." 

What were Freycinet's impressions at Solesmes ? 
What thoughts were at work in his mind during his 
confidential talks with the old Benedictine Monk? 
Why did he not penetrate further on the road in which 
it seemed to me that God was then leading him ? What 
passed in the depths of his soul ? That is his inviolable 
secret, and the secret of God. I have no right to reveal 
what I may know of it. 

When my friends left, the house of the Benedictines 
to return to Bordeaux, Dom Gueranger murmured these 
words : " Spiritus jwi, uU vult ! We must pray and 
wait ! " 

Let us go back a little. 


It was precisely on the afternoon preceding my 
departure from Paris for Solesmes that I committed the 
fault of which I spoke a little whUe ago. . . . The 
sharp point of remorse had immediately entered my 
heart, and I was preparing to relieve my troubled con- 
science by confessing my weakness to the venerable 
Father of the Benedictines, when, on awakening from 
sleep the day after my arrival, I felt the supercHiary 
arch and the axes of the eyelids attacked anew by 
the well-known heaviness which had been one of 
the symptoms of the terrible disease from which 


Our Lady of Lourdes had delivered me six days 
before. It was not the disease itself come back, for my 
sight remained clear and strong, but the permanent 
weight seemed like a warning and a threat, the hand of 
God stretched over me ready to strike ; it was a sign 
from heaven which said " Take care ! " 

I was terrified : but I thought of my fault, my base- 
ness, my ingratitude, and I was not deceived as to the 
cause of what had happened to me. 

"My worthy friend," I said to myself, employiag a 
familiar expression, "you have only got what you 


While I was in this state, and just as my friends the 
Preycinets left the Abbey, where I prolonged my stay 
for another week, I received a letter from the E. F. 
Gratry. He had been greatly impressed by what he had 
heard of my supernatural cure, and had written to ask 
me if it was true, requesting me, at the same time, to give 
him all the details. His letter was dated from Tours. 

I replied by sketching him an outline of what had 
happened : — the Miracle, testifying to the All-powerful 
mercy of Our Lady of Lourdes: — my prompt forget- 
fulness of the benefit : — the fault of which I had been 
guilty, and the present threat of punishment testifying 
that the God of Goodness is also the God of Justice. 

" At the same time," I added, " it is but a threat 
which has in no way affected the reality and com- 
pleteness of my miraculous cure. I continue to be 
able to read or write for hours together, by daylight 
or lamplight, without effort, difficulty, or fatigue. 


Only now, there is a dull heaviness in the upper part 
of the eyelid which makes it feel every minute as 
if it was going to fall over the eyeball. I am, as you 
may suppose, in a constant state of alarm. I might 
compare myself to Damocles. Nothing is changed, 
yet all is changed. Not one dish has been removed 
from the royal feast, but a sword is hanging over my 
head by a single thread, which will fall, for certain, 
at the first moral backsliding. I did not think to 
bring any of the water of Lourdes with me; so that 
I cannot bathe my eyes in it again before my return 
to Paris. I shall do so then, praying the Blessed Virgin 
at the same time to have pity on me once more. Do 
you pray for me also that she may be favourably in- 
clined towards me. 

" But, since you are at Tours, my dear, good Father, I 
shall come round that way to-morrow or the day after, 
on my return to Paris, so as to see you and tell you in 
detail what I am now briefly writing." 

Two days after, I stopped at Tours, in the interval 
between two trains, and climbed, on the banks of the 
Loire, the hill which leads to the country-house of the 

In the course of my long talk with the E. F. Gratry, 
he happened to mention the name of M. Dupont. 

" M. Dupont ! " I cried, " why, it is at Tours that he 
lives ! How could I be here ever since this morning, 
and never once remember that remarkable man ? I 
shall certainly not lose the opportunity of paying him a 
visit. Where does he live ? " 

" Eue Saint Etienne 10." 

I went to the street, which is close to the cathedral. 


One word will suffice to explain my eagerness. M. 
Dupont was reputed to have received the gift of miracles. 
The blessing of heaven was upon his house, the words 
of the Gospel and the prophecy of Isaias were there 
literally realised : — " Gceci indent, claudi ambulant, leprosi 
mundantur, surdi audiunt. The blind see; the lame 
wallc, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear." And that 
simply by his anointing them with a miraculous oil. 




M. Dupont was at home when I arrived. I was 
shown into a large room on the ground-floor, and while 
waiting for the master of the house, I looked curiously 
around me. The furniture was very simple ; here and 
there ex-votos were hanging on the wall ; beside a large 
table covered with papers, stood a reading-desk in the 
form of a lectern, supporting a large open in-folio. I 
recognised the Bible. But what chiefly attracted and 
fixed my attention and thoughts, was an engraving of 
the Sacred Face, representing the visage of Our Lord 
as the impression of it was left, the day of the Passion, 
on the veil of Veronica. This engraving was hanging 
over the writing-table, and before it burned a lamp, 
whose soft light floated on the limpid oil contained in a 
crystal cup. 

The door opened and M. Dupont entered. He was a 
tall, handsome old man, of p,bout sixty or sixty-five, 
still vigorous and upright. 

I looked at him with religious curiosity. 

At first sight the aspect of the man, whose beneficent 
hands had cured so many diseases, and succoured so 
many miseries, had something austere in it which almost 
approached severity. His countenance was fuU of an 


august dignity that inspired respect, and the grand lines 
of his face, regular, but perhaps a little cold, tempered 
with a touch of fear, the irresistible veneration which 
his presence inspired in the beholder. His fine eyes 
were at the same time calm, powerful, and penetrat- 
ing, but, if I remember well, overshadowed by thick 
bristling eyebrows. His nose well-shaped, but a little 
large, the outline of his mouth pure but firm, his fore- 
head high and wide and shaped in a magnificent mould, 
completed the royal air of authority that characterised 
the whole face. 

This imposing personage stood before me while I 
tried to control my embarrassment. 

" I have no other object in calling on you," I said, 
" but to make your acquaintance. And that wish has 
its origin in the reports I have heard of the marvels and 
miracles accomplished here." 

"Yes, sir," he replied, with an indescribable accent and 
a familiarity of language, that seems especially to be- 
long to the friends of God. " Yes sir, it is now eleven 
years ago, since in this room, and before that Sacred 
Face, Our Lord began to show His power. And He 
deigned to manifest it in the house of a wretch like me, 
to show that human merit had no part in it, but that He 
alone accomplislies all." 

He had hardly begun talking to me of the things of God 
when the rigid expression of his countenance changed, 
as the cold mists of night vanish, and the aspect of 
nature brightens before the glad rays of the May sun 
rising above the mountains. 

The apparent severity which had intimidated me for 
an instant had quite disappeared. M. Dupont talked 


with unreserved cordiality; he had all the charm of 
ripe experience, extreme affability, and child-like sim- 
plicity ; and it was with difficulty I retraced the im- 
pression of masterly power, which had struck me so 
much at first. Strength was transformed into grace. 
The inner life and thoughts of the heart in animating 
the cold lines and strong features, lighted them with the 
reflection of heavenly goodness. It was as if the soul 
of Vincent de Paul had suddenly transformed the ex- 
pression of the face of a Joseph de Maistre ; as if 
Mercy had shed the radiance of her divine benignity 
on the marble features of Justice. When I saw him 
enter, firm and dignified, I said to myself : — " He is a 
just man ". Now I added : " He is a Saint ". 

" What," I asked him, " was the origin of these 
wonders ? I only know them by general report, and 
that is always confused." 

" I never thought," he replied, " I could not possibly 
foresee that the room we are in would become a place 
of pilgrimage, where numberless miracles would be 
accomplished. But such were the designs of the 

At these last words, his voice slightly trembled. He 
resumed : — 

" In 1851, on Palm Sunday, I went to see the Mother 
Prioress of the Convent of the Carmelites. That very 
day she had received from Eome ten engravings of the 
Sacred Face. ' If you would like some,' she said to 
me, ' take those you prefer.' I chose two, one for my- 
self, and one for the Perpetual Adoration. On the 
following day, which was Holy Monday, I gave the 
sacred engraving to be framed immediately, but the 


workman did not bring it home till the Wednesday 
morning. I then placed it over the bureau just as you 
see it now." 

"While I was looking at it a kind of imperative 
feeling rose in my heart, and I asked myself : ' Can the 
Divine Face of our Lord remain exposed in the house 
of a Christian during the great week of the Passion 
without being honoured by some outward sign of adora- 
tion and love ? ' No, truly, that must not be. It 
occurred to me that I might place a lamp before it, and 
immediately I did so. 

The fear of "what will people say," however, is 
always present in our poor nature ; and hardly had the 
lamp been lighted when that scruple began to excite 
my cowardice. It was in this room I received every- 
one who came to see me, my bureau was here, and I 
thought with a certain secret shrinking that people 
would all be asking me the meaning of a lamp burning 
in full day-light. 

For a long time I meditated on the answer I could 
give ; and at last I found one to my mind. To those 
who might be curious to know the meaning of that 
lamp burning in the day-time, I would reply : " It is to 
teach those who do me the honour of coming to my 
house that, when the business that brings them here is 
settled, there remains nothing to do but to talk of God 
or go away ". 

That day and the day following nobody asked me the 
question I was expecting. Some did not even see the 
lamp, others noticed it, understood and approved. 

But on the Good Friday, a commercial traveller, 
having insisted on seeing me, to offer me some Bordeaux, 


gave me an opportunity of answering as I proposed ; he 
was so surprised that he did not seem to understand 
my observation, and I had to repeat it to him over 
again. I took it as my starting-point, and gave him 
some Christian counsel, which I hope was profitable to 
him — I sometimes think it was. 

Four and twenty hours after, during the morning of 
Easter Eve, a pious lady of my acquaintance, who was 
suffering from a very bad disease of the eyes, came to 
see me. I showed her the Sacred Face and we said a 
prayer together before the Blessed Image. 

On rising from our knees, the idea occurred to me 
(how I cannot tell) to say to my friend : " Eub your 
eyes a little with a drop of the oil burning in honour of 
the Divine Visage ; perhaps it wiU. do you good ". 

She dipped her finger in the oil, rubbed her eyes with 
it, and was suddenly cured. 

From that day, cures and miracles have never ceased, 
and here am I, the privileged witness of continual 
marvels. The oil, which has been sent to a distance, 
has also cured a number of diseases in France and in 
foreign countries. 

" Ah, sir," cried M. Dupont, as he finished, " God is 
great ! God is good ! " 


" Yes, truly," said I, after a moment's silence. " Yes, 
truly, God is good. These wonders do not surprise me, 
for I have lately been favoured with a similar grace 
myself ; but I did not prove myself deserving of it, and 
now I feel the hand of God threatening me and ready 
to throw me back into my former state." 


I then told him all about my disease, my cure, and 
the half-relapse, of which I explained the cause. 

" Accidents of that kind often occur," he said, " or 
even more complete relapses, and I have noticed that 
they generally proceed from one of two causes : either 
having shrunk from bearing witness before men; or 
having neglected to return thanks to God." 

" It was not the first cause with me," I replied, " for 
I never hesitated to witness to the Miracle that had 
been worked in me ; but, alas ! I did not return thanks. 
Out of the ten lepers healed, spoken of in the Gospels, 
only one returned to give thanks to the Lord ; I was 
amongst the nine others. Forgetful and ungrateful, I 
resumed my usual way of life, and at the moment of 
trial I failed." 

" All faults can be repaired," said M. Dupont. " We 
wUl invoke the Lord, we will pray before the Sacred 
Pace, and anoint your eyes with the miraculous oil. 
Let us hope that some good will come of it." . . . 

."No! no!" I interrupted, . quickly ; "I have been 
cured once by the Blessed Virgin honoured at Lourdes. 
I have slighted her goodness; but I have the conviction 
that she will obtaia my forgiveness. I feel as if I 
ought not to have recourse to any intercession but hers ; 
and it almost seems as if I should be wanting in respect 
to the Queen of Angels if I asked help from any other 

M. Dupont smiled. 

"Heaven has no such jealousy as that," he said, 
gently ; " however, if such is your feeling, I have here a 
medal given me by the P^re Hermann, he dipped it 
himself into the water of Lourdes. It has already been 



used to obtain several cures. Will you try it ? Lay it 
successively on each eye, and let us say together: 
' Blessed Virgin Mary, show yourself as powerful at 
Tours as you have been in the Grotto of Lourdes ! ' " 

I knelt down and did as he said ; but I felt no relief. 
We renewed the attempt several times, without any 

" Well," said M. Dupont quietly, raising his eyes as 
if he were speaking to some one present, " Well, Holy 
Virgin Mary, since you refuse us this favour, we will 
now apply to your Son ". 

He then dipped his finger in the oil burning before 
the Sacred Face, and anointed my eyelids, my brow, 
my eyebrows, every part affected by the painful and 
threatening heaviness. His face had suddenly assumed 
a striking and majestic expression of authority. . . . 
He reminded me of Moses, . . . and it no longer 
surprised me that nature should sometimes obey him. 

" Do you feel no relief ? " he asked me. 

" Alas ! none," I replied. "But perhaps as the heavi- 
ness and dull weariness do not compose a sharp suffering 
nor an obstacle to my using my eyes and seeing very 
well, my deliverance may come without my knowing it. 
For the moment, however, I cannot perceive any 
change." M. Dupont appeared surprised at the resist- 
ance of the evil. 

" You must dine with me, and this evening we will 
renew our supplications to God." 

I shared M. Dupont's repast. His delightful con- 
versation was that of a man of the world who might 
have travelled amongst a people of saints in the 
company of angelic spirits. 


After dinner he anointed my eyes afresh ; still with- 
out effect. But although he seemed distressed, neither 
his faith nor his firm hope were disturbed by the 
appairent rigour of Divine Mercy. 

" Do not be anxious," he said ; " here is a little bottle 
of oil from the lamp before the Sacred Face. We wUl 
consider what has just passed as the commencement of a 
Noveno. You must anoint your eyes yourself and 
joiQ in the prayers that are recited here from eleven till 
two. I will pray for you every day." 

When we separated he allowed me to embrace him, 
and the same evening I returned to Paris. 


On getting up the next morning I anointed my eyes 
before going out. 

Towards the beginning of the afternoon as I was 
walking in the street on my way to business, I suddenly 
became aware that the feeling of heaviness had disap- 
peared, and that the potent fluids of health had 
penetrated beneath my eyelids, revivifying the nerves 
and muscles in the region of the eyes. 

The heavenly favour had come upon me all at once 
in a torrent, like summer rain long desired, and which, 
when least expected, pours out its grateful flood upon 
the thirsty earth. 

I instantly thought of M. Dupont's promise, and I 
had an intuition that the servant of God was then on 
his knees praying for me. 





In the brief letter I had written to the Abbd Pey- 
ramale informing him of my iniraculous cure, I said 
that a little later on, I would send him as complete a 
narrative as possible of the different circumstances under 
which it had taken pface. ' I now wrote the narration. 
But human events are like undulating hills and wide- 
spread landscapes. Only at a distance can we properly 
seize the fine outlines, the real place of everything, the 
importance of certain details and the striking harmony 
of the whole. Besides which, the progressive lapse of 
time often produces new circumstances which throw an 
unexpected light on past events and determine their 
actual character. 

It was only by the light of his future destiny that I 
at last understood with perfect clearness the formal in- 
tentions of Almighty God in employing the young Pole 
Wladimir as the cause and instrument of my journey 
to Paris, and in consequence, as the occasion of my 
meeting Freycinet on the Blessed Feast of Guardian 
Angels. For which reason I did not even think of 
going back in my narrative to that starting-point, con- 
sidering it without interest or importance. 


I confined myself to relating the direct action of 
Freycinet as it has just been read, and the episode of M. 
Dupont. It is superfluous to add that I made my written 
deposition with the scrupulous care necessitated by the 
gravity of the- important event of which I was giving 
an account. But for greater certainty I submitted 
the text, sentence by sentence, to Freycinet and M. 

" It is all accurate," said Freycinet, " there is nothing 
to add or to take away ; it is quite a photograph. But 
I notice a few words here and there that I should like 
you to suppress ; they add nothing to the relation and 
appear to me useless or beside the question." 

I hastened to oblige him by crossing off all he ob- 
jected to. And although his share in my extraordinary 
cure was no secret for anyone, although, in the exten- 
sive circle of our mutual friends, he liked to relate the 
event, or make me relate it, I did not think fit to 
write his name, but designated him by the appellation of 
"M. de ". 

The name is ever dear to me, and in spite of many 
divergences in our ways of seeing, judging, and acting, 
will never cease to arouse a feeling of eternal gratitude 
in my heart. If I print it now, it is because it has been 
divulged, since that time and without my consent, by 
the press of the two continents, and, in consequence, 
published millions of times. Besides that, the imagi- 
nary circumstances and inventions with which that 
period of my life has been embellished have imposed 
on me the duty, as a man and a historian, of re-estab- 
lishing every detail in its primitive form. 



I went with my manuscript to Tours to communicate 
it to M. Dupont. 

In reading it aloud to my venerable listener, I sup- 
pressed, as may be supposed, all those parts relating to 
the portrait I had given of himself, and such reflections 
as might have wounded his humility. . . . But he 
probably guessed what I concealed from him. After 
listening with great attention, the saintly old man 

" Nothing can be more rigorously exact than the 
incident you relate. I have recognised in listening to 
you, the very words we employed in our conversation. 
You have truthfully repeated everything that passed 

Such complete approbation would have given me un- 
mixed pleasure, if M. Dupont's accents in thus expressing 
himself had not made me anxious for what was to follow. 

" And yet," he added, " I must beg you to cross out 
all mention of this last incident from your narrative. 
You must teU of nothing but the miracle accomplished 
by Our Lady of Lourdes." . . . 

" Impossible ! " I cried. " Although it is true, that 
Our Lady of Lourdes has cured me, and that without 
any relapse, it is none the less true that the dark threat 
immediately following my fault, and the sudden disap- 
pearance of that threat the day after my visit to you, 
are supernatural facts too closely connected with the 
principal event for me to have the right to omit them, 
even at your urgent req^uest." 


" Still you must," he replied firmly. " Your narration, 
which cannot fail to be published, will do great good, 
and spread far and wide the glory of Our Lady of 

"Yes, but then, why should I not include in this 
statement my station before the Sacred Face venerated 
here ? Is not that also the truth, and might not that 
truth also do good to a great number of souls ? " 

" The Lord has His own ways," he replied. " The 
Apparitions of Lourdes have attracted public attention 
from the beginning. The Christian press, and later oa 
the Charge of the Bishop of Tarbes, have made them 
known ; polemics have been engaged. . . . But it 
has been otherwise with what, has passed in my own 
poor house. That has been quite outside newspapers or 
books. Devotion to the Sacred Face has been gradually 
spread by personal confidences from one to another, 
amongst the humble and those of no account. I 
desire, and I believe it to be God's will, tliat things 
should continue thus ... at least for the present. 
There is, says the Scripture, a time to keep silence, 
and a time to speak. At present we are at the first 

As I still insisted, he raised his hand, and pointing to 
the soft, fair light burning before the Sacred Face — 

"Publicity would extinguish that lamp," he said 

" God forbid ! I will suppress whatever you like. 
. . . But I hope there will come a time, when I 
shall be able to re-establish in its place all that -to-day 
you oblige me to bury in silence." 

" Yes. And when that hour comes, you wUl be free ; 


but, until then, be content to indicate by typographic 
signs, that something is suppressed and wanting in your 
original text." 

This, then, is the reason why, in every edition of " Our 
Lady of Lourdes," the long paragraph relating to M. 
Dupont was replaced by a double line of dots, showing 
the reader that a voluntary blank existed in that chapter 
of my book. The moment is now come to fiU it up. 


Having left a copy of my manuscript with the " Holy 
Man of Tours," I sent my authentic narration to Lourdes, 
revised and verified successively by Freycinet and M. 

It appears that the Cur^ Peyramale was greatly 
moved by the narrative ; and while still under the im- 
pression caused by his emotion, he had a sort of pre- 
sentiment of the future. When he went, that day or 

* The copy that I gave to M. Dupont was found amongst his papers 
after his decease, by his biographer, the Abbe Janvier, who published 
a long fragment of it four years ago, in his Life of that Man of 
God, Volume II., pages 309 to 315 (edition of 1879) ; p. 289 to 295 
of the 12mo edition of 1882, and pp. 334 to 342 of the abridged edi- 
tion. The Abb6 Janvier has quoted the fragment very correctly, but 
he has committed a considerable and complete en'or in calling my state 
a relapse ; an error that he proposes to rectify in future editions. No 
relapse, thank Heaven, had taken place, and my narration indicates 
with the most scrupulous precision that all-important shade. The 
alarming heaviness which manifested itself after a fault, in no manner 
prevented my reading and writing, and did not in the least affect my 
sight. It was only, as I said further back, a sort of threat intended to 
rouse my fears and prevent my falling again into any act of ingratitude. 
My disease was completely cured by Our Lady of Lourdes, and it has 
never reappeared. 


the day following, to the hospital of Lourdes to visit 
the "Sisters of Nevers," who nurse the sick and in- 
struct the children, he read the pages of my relation to 

■ Then, after a moment of silence, he pronounced the 
following words in his grave firm voice : — 

" That man wUl be the historian of Our Lady of 
Lourdes! The Blessed Virgin has chosen him and 
restored his sight for that." 


A few days after my return from Solesmes and my 
journey to Tours, I started for Eome to rejoin my 
friend Wladimir. What delightful months we passed 
together. What thoughts we exchanged! What in- 
timate confidences ! What exquisite animation and 
charm, what grace and affability on his part ! What 
pleasure and enjoyment on mine ! Why, alas ! must 
the fairest dreams have a waking, and the brightest 
days remain sometimes without a morrow ? Why are 
minds the most harmoniously united jarred in a fatal 
hour by some discordant chord ? Why does it happen 
that youthful friendships are not always proof against 
time and long separation ? Why are some broken and 
others abandoned? Had Providence brought iis so 
closely together simply that my friend at Eome might 
perform in the miraculous event the part traced out 
for him ? I cannot tell. 

The summer heat brought me back to France, and I 
left the capital of the Christian world. 1 have never 
returned there since. Wladimir and I maintained a 


profound affection and esteem for each other, but the 
delightful intimacy that had lent such a charm to our 
intercourse chilled and perished untimely. It was a 
Spring without a Summer; a dawn without a day. 
Thus, in the vast plains of the country of the Slavs, 
the horizon grows gradually clear, night disappears 
and morn begins to dawn. The pleased traveller 
starts on his way, rejoicing in the prospect of daylight. 
Undeceive yourself, traveller ! The shadows fall afresh 
— it was the Aurora-BoreaUs ; and what you took for 
the first rays of the rising sun were but the fleeting 
meteors of the frigid zone. . . . 





Twenty years have passed away. 

Since the day of my cure by Our Lady of Lourdes, 
my sight has never ceased to be excellent. Since the 
last time I anointed them with the oil from before the 
Sacred Face during the prayer of M. Dupont, the alarm- 
ing threat that for a brief period had weighed down my 
eyelids has entirely disappeared, and I have never 
had any return of it. Neither assiduous reading, nor 
the volumes I have written, nor the artificial light of 
lamps or candles, nor the dazzling rays of the sun have 
ever fatigued my eyes. Miraculously restored to their 
natural condition they have since followed the ordinary 
and regular course of all things relating to the human 
organization. When I had reached my fiftieth year, 
and had entered my second half-century, I could see at 
a distance better than before, but not quite so well 
close to : therefore, like most people of my age, I took to 
wearing glasses for my literary work. In curing me by 
a miracle the Blessed Virgin did not dispense me from 
growing old. 

Twenty years have passed away. And Time, raising 
by degrees in his progress the thick veil which at first 


hid such and such lines in the divine plan, has replied 
in a manner at once clear and enigmatic to the ques- 
tions I had so often asked myself. 

In the supernatural event of which the history has 
just been read, four men, seemingly taken at hazard in 
the crowd, had unexpectedly been brought together — four 
men having each his personal part and special share — 
four men placed in order, so to speak, to be the instru- 
ments of God's power and the successive witnesses of 
His intervention. The reader is acquainted with 

The first was myself — the object of the Miracle ; 

The second was the protestant — Charles de Preyoinet; 

The third was the Pole — ^Wladimir ; 

The fourth was M. Dupont. 

Why, Heavenly Father, did You choose those four 
individualities ? Why did You associate and group 
them for a moment around the Miracle accomphshed 
by Our Lady of Lourdes, and then let them separate 
afterwards to follow their different paths ? . . . . 

In the silence of my heart, I wait and watch. 

St, •y, jif -•jf- ^ ■jig- 

Twenty years have passed away. What has become, 
Lord, of the most unworthy of those four witnesses of 
the Miracle ? What has become of him whose diseased 
eyes and lost sight were restored by the all-powerful 
compassion of Your Immaculate Mother ? 

He who was cured, Henri Lasserre, has become the 
historian of Our Lady of Lourdes, and You have so 
amply blessed the humble book — the ex-voto of his 
gratitude — that it decided Eome — silent till then — 
to proclaim "the luminous evidence of the Apparitions of 


Mary," and the infallible Chief of the Church, investing 
with his solemn approbation the work of an unknown 
author, hailed its publication in these terms : — " We 
believe that SHE, who hy the miracles of her power and 
goodness draws from all parts multitudes of pilgrims to 
her sanctuary, will also make use oe this book to 


SO that all may participate in the plenitude of her 
graces."* And in conformity with his prophetic words, 
the editions have, in fact, been multiplied in a propor- 
tion and with a rapidity out of all comparison with ordi- 
nary human success. The book has penetrated every- 
where, among all classes, the rich, the poor, the faithful, 
and the unbeliever ; even into the churches, where it 
has been publicly read in the pulpits of innumerable 
parishes, in the form of a Month of Mary ; it has been 
spontaneously translated into every language, English, 
German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Flemish, Dutch, 
Breton, Polish, Hungarian, Slavonic ; even into the 
Eastern dialects, Chinese and Tamoul; it has been printed 
and reprinted in Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, 
Amsterdam, Ghent, Luxembourg, Fribourg in Brisgau, 
Trent, Modena, Buda-Pesth, Warsaw, Laybach, New 
York, Bogota, Eio-Janiero, Pondichery, and Chang-Hai. 
The book, as popular in America as in the Old Continent, 
has penetrated into every country, and, by the grace 
of God, accomplishes its apostolic work, repeating, in 
the name of the Queen of Heaven, the echo of our Lord's 
words : "Come unto Me, all you that labour and are bur- 

* See Appendix, Note VI., the Latin text and ti-anslation of the 
Brief of His Holiness. 


dened, and I will refresh you". And nations, moved by 
the reading of that simple history of the Apparitions and 
Miracles, have hastened to send pilgrimages from all 
parts of the world, to the Grotto of Lourdes. A magni- 
ficent Basilica has been raised by the gold of the 
universe and dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, and 
beneath its shadow, in that land of marvels, thousands 
of wonders have been accomplished. 

Thus, from an imperceptible seed that a child's hand 
drops into the earth, You raise, O Father of Love, a 
stately tree, in whose branches myriads of birds find 
shelter, and beneath whose shade generations to come 
shall seek coolness and repose. Non nobis, Domine, sed 
nomini tuo de gloriam. 

Such has been the mission to which, notwithstanding 
his defects and shortcomings. You have deigned to call 
him who was the Object and consequently the first 
Witness of the miraculous act. 


Twenty years have passed. What has become. 
Lord, of the second Witness, whom it pleased You 
then to employ as the conscient instrument and direct 
cause of the Miracle; of him whose urgent initiative, 
and earnest persuasion forced me, so to speak, to have 
recourse to Our Lady of Lourdes ; of him whose hand, 
at my dictation, traced the letter to the Cur^.Peyramale, 
that letter requesting a small quantity of the miraculous 
water, and so singularly dated, the 2nd October, 1862 — 
Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels ? 

Charles de Freycinet has been carried by the whirl- 
wind of Eevolutionary storm to the highest functions of 
the state in the tempestuous government of France ; 


first as Delegate of War, then Minister of Public Works, 
Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Council. 
Such has been the remarkable destiny of the second 
Witness of the Miracle. 

Oh ! what tumultuous and agitated thoughts crowd in 
my mind, what questions arise as I compare certain 
important facts of contemporary history with the 
memories I have just evoked!- But an imperative 
reserve, easily understood, checks all reflection on my 
lips. He alone is the Judge, who, knowing the final 
destiny of men, and the ultimate consequences of 
earthly things, rules and regulates aU to His own glory. 
To borrow the very expressions of my early friend, 
Freycinet himself, I exclaim ; " There is in all this such 
an uniformity of coincidence that, in considering it, one 
is almost prompted to recognize the workings of some 
superior power, and listen without surprise when pious 
souls exclaim : Digitus Dei est hid " * 

if^ 7^ yp y^ yp tp 

Twenty years have passed away. What has be- 
come, Lord, of the third witness ; he who was the 
unconscious yet decisive cause of my supernatural cure? 
Of the young Slav whose rapid passage through my 
native land called me to Paris on the day fixed, and 

* It is in his work on the war of 1870, that M. de Freycinet wrote 
the lines to which I refer. They are as follows : — '' A succession of 
unfortunate coincidences was added to the organic weakness of France 
and frustrated all her efiForts. And that wniformity was such, that 
really in cimsidering it one is prompted to enquire if it has not been guided 
iy some power superior to that of physical causes ; a sort of expiation of 
national sins, or the relentless goad urging on to an indispensable effort. 
In the face of such immense misfortunes it is not surprising that pious 
souls should exclaim : " Digitus Dei est hie ! " (Charles de Freycinet, 
La Querre en Province, p. 350-351.) 


whose providential absence from the hotel Eadstadt 
decided me to go, in the belief that I was acting of 
myself, towards the house where I was to find Freycinet, 
and where Your grace was invisibly awaiting me? 
What has become of that friend of the past, who 
then wrote me the hurried letter of which the fac-simUe 
has already been given, with the Post Ofi&ce stamp, 
marking the year, the month, the day of that same Feast 
of the Holy Guardian Angels ? The noble Pole has 
abandoned the life of the layman and taken holy 
orders. And at the time when Charles de Freycinet 
was Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the 
Council of France, Count Wladimir Czacki, Eoman 
Prelate, and Archbishop of Salamis arrived in France as 
the Pope's Nuncio. After which, rising stiQ higher, he 
took his seat as Cardinal of Holy Church, on the steps 
of the Pontifical throne. There, on the supreme heights 
of ecclesiastic hierarchy, we find the third witness and 
instrument of the miracle accomplished by Our Lady of 
Lourdes on the man who was to be her historian. 
m * * * * * 

Twenty years have passed away. What have You 
done, Lord, with the fourth witness and last instru- 
ment of the supernatural action ? with that saintly old 
man of the town of Tours who, by anointing my eyes 
and praying before the Sacred Face of the Crucified, 
obtained my deliverance from all threat of relapse, and 
so mingled with the benefit of the Blessed Virgin, and 
the events which had marked it, the direct sanction of 
Jesus Christ ? To that one, Lord, You have assigned 
a place far higher than all the seats of honour in this 
mortal world ; higher than the Benches of Prime 


Ministers or the thrones of the Princes of the Church. 
Hardly had M. Dupont fallen asleep in the peace of 
the just, when the voice of the people was heard saying, 
" A Blessed One has ascended into heaven ! " 

The Archbishop of Tours has proclaimed the glory of 
the Servant of God, "who died," says the episcopal 
ordinance, " in the odour of sanctity ". The house filled 
with his memory has been transformed into a sanctuary, 
and it is said that Eome is about to introduce the cause 
of his Beatification. Such was the glorious end of the 
fourth witness of the Miracle. 

Lord, Lord, why in the mysterious economy of Your 
unfathomable designs have You placed these four men 
side by side ; the first, future historian of Our Lady of 
Lourdes ; the second, future Minister of France and 
President of the Council ; the third, future Nuncio and 
Cardinal; the fourth, a future Saint? A quadruple 
coincidence such as chance could never have produced. 

For what purpose was Your finger mysteriously laid 
on those four persons at the time of the Miracle? 
What is the meaning of those four names being thus 
associated with the History of Our Lady of Lourdes, 
and henceforth engraved in its very foundations and 
comer-stone ? 


Sometimes, in crossing the deserts of Egypt, the 
explorer perceives on the pedestal of an obelisk or 
the base of a pyramid certain hieroglyphic signs as 
distinctly traced in the granite, after a lapse of three 



thousand years, as if the engraver had just finished 
them that moriiing. He stops astonished and thought- 
ful. On one hand those characters prove that at some 
distant time a man had been employed in carefully and 
mathematically forming their curves and angles; on the 
other, the very thoughts they express escape his investi- 
gation. The -words, so clear in their outline, are in an 
unknown writing and an unknown tongue. They remain 
an unfathomable mystery. 

Thus do I contemplate with admiration the evident 
signs of the Omnipotent hand ; and thus, at the same 
time, do I vainly seek to penetrate more deeply into 
the intentions of the Almighty. The mystic hieroglyphic 
has not yet revealed its secret to my baffled gaze. 

But in proportion as I discerned the amazing inten- 
tions of Sovereign Wisdom ; in proportion as I saw the 
book written by my unworthy pen scattered abroad in 
all nations like an apostolic seed; in proportion as those 
four names emerged from obscurity one after another ; 
in proportion as all relating to that supernatural history 
was brought into ever-increasing relief, and providential 
colouring, I felt myself disappearing in the consciousness 
of my own misery, insignificance, and nothingness. 

Minute and helpless grain of dust, carried hither and 
thither without knowing whither I go, or what I do, 
and hardly what I want; drifted about at the will 
of heaven in the formidable whirlwind of the divine 
labour, I have ever felt, and I still feel at every hour, 
an indescribable religious terror before such manifest 
signs. What am I, and who am I ? How well I 
understand Simon Peter's cry of alarm, " Depart from 
me for I am a sinful man, Lord ! " What have 


I done, alas ! with the many graces I have received ? 
and what shall I answer when You say to me, " What ! 
you were employed to convert others, and you yourself 
are still unregenerate ; to bring back many wandering 
souls into the way of holiness, and you have not yet 
entered therein ?'• . . . Mary, Our Lady of 
Lourdes, 0, Mother, save me in that terrible moment ! 

Yes, I feel crushed beneath the weight of my responsi- 
bility before my Judge; and often, when perhaps others 
are envying me, in my turn I envy the obscure peasant 
ploughing underneath my window, for he will only 
have to give account of the progress of his plough, and 
the line of his furrow. But, at the same time, if these 
indications of a superior action on my person and my 
work, fill me, as a man, with a terror readily under- 
stood ; on the other hand, they console me as historian 
of Our Lady of Lourdes, and maintain me in profound 
peace notwithstanding the attacks of which I may be 
the object, notwithstanding pubhc or dissimulated 
calumnies, and no matter who or what the calum- 

When, in spite of myself, my soul trembles with 
indignation, the heavenly voice of Our Lady of Lourdes 
whispers in my ear : — 

" Be not troubled, neither be afraid. You have none 
to fear but yourself, your own extreme frailty, your 
passions and temptations. See how I have guided you 
and led you by the hand. Eemember the miraculous 
cure of your eyes which was my first call to you, to 
induce you to write this History of my Apparitions and 
benefactions. And see how I have blessed it. Eecognise 
the finger of God in the choice of the men He employed 


as His instruments. Consider the summits on which 
it has pleased Him to place them, so that without 
any possibility of contradiction you can produce them 
in testimony to the unbelieving world, to Christian 
sacerdoce and to the whole Church. Publish all these 
things in the face of day, that all upright hearts may 
perceive in their marvellous harmonies the intervention 
of the Holy Angels and the guidance of the Lord. 
Those who deny and insult, deliberately and obstinately, 
win continue to insult and deny for their greater con- 
demnation. Those who are sincere but wandering will 
return to the fold." 

Wherefore we have thought it our duty to break 
silence and throw a light on certain unknown details 
which formerly appeared in our eyes of no value ; but 
of which successive events have taught us the im- 
portance. ^ 


We shall perhaps relate, some day, the new calls by 
which Our Lady of Lourdes incited us, notwithstanding 
our resistance, to fulfil our mission of historian; the 
obstacles suscitated by the Evil One, the blessings and 
the trials, the sympathy and the enmity which accom- 
panied, followed and still follow, the accomplishment of 
that work. And then, the reader also discerning in a 
no less manifest manner the secret action of Providence, 
may recall to mind Bossuet's grand words : " Man moves, 
but God leads him ". 



(Page 130.) 

"I, the undersigned, declare that for about thirty years M. 
Macary (Fran9ois), joiner, has beenjsuffering from varicose veins 
in the legs. The varices, which were of the thickness of a fmger, 
were complicated with knotty flexions cords strongly developed, and 
required to be methodically compressed, up to the present, by the 
help of bandages and dog-skin gaiters. But notwithstanding 
these precautions ulcerations were frequent in both legs, and 
necessitated, whenever they appeared, absolute repose and a long 
and careful treatment. I have examined him to-day, and, al- 
though his lower members were free from all dressing or 
bandages, I could only perceive some few traces of his enormous 

"This case of spontcmeons cure appears to me all the more 
surprising that the annals of science make no mention of any 

fact of a similar nature. 

" Sj^que, 

"Consulting Physiciam of the Mutual Aid 

Society of Samt Louis. 

"Lavaite, 16th August, 1871." 

"I, the undersigned, certify that for about thirty years M. 
Macary, joiner at Lavaur, has suffered from varices in the legs, 
accompanied with enormous nodosities and frequently compli- 


cated by large ulcers, notwithstanding a constant compression by/ 
suitable bandages or gaiters. That now those varices havf 
suddenly disa/ppewred, leaving no other trace of their presence tha4 
a nodosity, sensibly diminished, on the. inner and upper part of 
the right leg. 

"Lavaue, S5th August, 1871." 

"Macary (Frangois), sixty years of age, joiner at Lavaur, 
member of the Society of Saiat Louis, consulted us about twenty 
years ago, for varices situated in the poplited hollow and the 
inner part of the left knee and leg. A varicose ulcer was then 
observed in the lower part of the leg, with callous edges, and 
considerable obstruction ; it was also most painful to the touch. 
There existed besides, outside and inside the upper part of the 
calf, two large scars, in no way connected with the affection we 
are treating of at present, but resulting from a gun-shot received 
by the , patient twenty years previously. The veins were so. 
numerous, and dilated to such an extent, that, iti our opinion, the 
surgical means usually adopted in such cases were quite out of 
the question. 

"Macary seemed to us condemned to a life-long infirmity, 
and we could only prescribe palliative remedies such as had 
already been recommended by several of our colleagues. 

" Eighteen years later, that is, two years ago, Macary came to 
consult us again. The already bad state of his leg had become 
much worse. We were confirmed in our first opinion, and we 
assured him that if he wished the ulcer to cicatrise he must 
submit to a prolonged and absolute period of rest in bed, and a 
course of regular dressings. 

"To-day, 15th August, 1871, Macary has presented himself 
for the third time. The ulcer is perfectly cicatrised. The leg is 
not compressed in any apparatus, and yet there does not exist a 
shadow of obstruction. What particularly strikes us is that the 
va/rieose lumps have entirely disappeared; and that in their place 
nothing is perceptible to the touch but small, hard cords, void of 
blood and rolling under the finger. Tlie inner saphena vein is of 


the usual volume, and follows its regular course. The most atten- 
tive examination has not resulted in the discovery of any trace of 
a surgical operation. 

"According to Macary's account, this radical cure has been 
produced in the space of one night, and under the unique 
influence of the application of compresses of water taken from 
the spring in the Grotto of Lourdes. Whence we conclude, that, 
putting Macary's account out of the question, science is powerless 
to explain the fact ; for no author has ever quoted amy simdlajr or 
analogous observation. Doctors are all agreed on one point, 
namely: that neglected varices a/re incurahle, that they cannot he 
cured by palliative treatment, and still less are they cured spon- 
taneously, on the contrary, they continue to get worse and worse ; and 
in short, a radical cure cannot be hoped for, even by the patient 
running serious risks, without surgical aid. Thus, even if the 
facts attested by Macary were not proved by authentic witnesses, 
besides himself, it would be none the less for us a most extra- ■ 
ordinary and, to speak frankly, a supernatural event. In 
testimony of which we sign the present statement. 

" Bernet, 
"M.D. of the Faculty of Paris. 

" Lavaub, 15th August, 1871. 

" Seen, for the legalisation of the above signatures. 

" The Mayor : Et. de Voisin. 
" Lavaur, 3rd September, 1871. 

"Seen, for legalisation of the signature of M. Etienne de 
Voisin-Laverniere, Mayor of Lavaur, hereto set. 

"The Sous-Prbpet: CelliIires. 
" Lavaur, 4ih September, 1871." 

(Page 196.) 

The rustic Rotunda now no longer exists (1883). 
For such of our readers as had not visited Lourdes at that time, 
we will explain that the rustic Rotunda, covered with thatch. 


like the Swiss cottages of Versailles and Trianon, was a gratuitous 
shelter for pilgrims, with marble tables for their meals and a 
supply of water. It could contain an entire pilgrimage of about 
seven hundred persons, and was founded by the Donor, as a per- 
petual testimonial of his gratitude to Our Lady of Lourdes. It 
■was established in 1872, during the episcopate of Mgr. Pichenot, 
and presented to the mission of the Grotto, with the condition 
that they should keep it in repair. In 1877, under the direction 
of Father Sempi, and during the episcopate of Mgr. Jourdan, it 
was destroyed to make way for extensive and handsome buildings, 
stiU in course of construction, which completely change the primi- 
tive aspect of the place where the Blessed Virgin appeared. 

(Page 221.) 

It is necessary here to recall, in the interests of historical pre- 
cision, that the Bishops' Cottage in question is not the actual 
Episcopal Palace erected on the plateau des EspSlugues, in 1874, 
with the funds of the Pilgrimage, during Mgr. Lang§nieiix's 
brief passage in the diocese of Tarbes. 

The " Bishops' Cottage " was situated at about two hundred 
metres from the Grotto, in the field of Savy, between the Gave 
and the brook (now turned aside and filled up) that Bemadette 
crossed at the time of the first Apparition. Wishing that the 
good works they had accomplished during their lives might sur- 
vive them, those noble and pious Christian ladies of Lyons, Mes- 
demoiselles de Lacour, who had already presented the statue of 
the Grotto, caused the graceful building to be erected, and sur- 
rounded it with a large garden, fine trees, and sparkling fountains. 
All this was done under the direction of the Cur6 Peyramale, 
whom they profoundly venerated. After having built and com- 
pletely furnished the villa, MesdemoiseUes de Lacour made a 
gift of it, by notarial act, dated the 29th March, 1868, for the 
residence, near the Grotto, of the Bishops of Tarbes. Mgr. 
Laurence and Mgr. Pichenot stayed in the Bishops' Cottage, and 


for many years it was the residence of the prelates of every 
country, when they came on pilgrimage to the Fountain of 
Miracles. Mesdemoiselles de Lacoxir were thus the first bene- 
factresses of the work, and their names should be engraved in 
letters of gold in the annals of the Pilgrimage. 

That Foimdation, which had cost the generous donors forty 
thousand francs, exists no longer. In 1878, about a year after 
the death of Mgr. Peyramale, it was destroyed under the adminis- 
tration of the R. F. Sempe, to make way for certain works of 
transformation undertaken by Mgr. Lamgenieux, and continued 
under Mgr. Jourdan, his successor. The stones, ready prepared, 
were used to build, at the corner of the old and new roads, 
near the square where the horses and carriages stand, a house 
of similar appearance, occupied at present by a retired tradesman, 
M. Berger, and a rich widow of Lourdes, Mme. Lacrampe. . . . 

The disappearance of the Foundation of Mesdemoiselles de 
Lacour imposes on us here the duty of mentioning their signal 
good work, and rendering, in passing, a pious tribute of respect 
to their memories. 

(Page 228.) 

Although, according to our opinion, the miraculous character 
of an event is proved rather by the circumstances under which 
it takes place, than by medical certificates ; although, in such 
cases, we admit no other judgments than that of the Church, we 
should consider ourselves wanting in respect to Science, and we 
should be suppressing important documents, if we did not here 
insert, as proofs, the formal declarations of Doctor Lagoutte, of 
Autun, and Doctor Mangin, of Baccarat. We will begin by Dr. 
Lagoutte : — 

" I, the undersigned. Doctor of Medicine, dwelling at Autun 
<Sa6ne-et-Loire), certify that Mile, de Fontenay (Jeanne-Marie), 
who has been ill for a very long time, has of late years consulted 
Drs. Courty, at Montpellier ; Bennet, at Cannes; Bouchacourt, 


at Lyons ; and has been attended by them ; that they have all 
declared her to be suffering from a uterine aflfection, resulting 
in a nervous condition, characterised by great debility and 
acute pain whenever she tried to make any sustained use of her 
limbs ; from which cause, walking had become almost an im- 
possibility ; that since her pilgrimage to Lourdes, in the month 
of August last, Mile, de Fontenay has recovered her health, 
completely aiid, instantaneously, and that she can now use her limbs 
freely and without pam. 

" Dr. Lagoutte. 
" AuTUN, Slst January, 1875." 

Here, now, is Dr Mangin's declaration. We beg the reader at- 
tentively to weigh the terms (so conclusive beneath the doctor's 
pen) that are printed in italics. 

" I, the undersigned, Joseph- Auguste Mangin, Doctor of Medi- 
cine, domiciled at Baccarat, certify that for many years I attended 
Mile. Jeanne-Marie de Fontenay, during her residence at Bac- 
carat (she is at present living at Autun), for frequent indispositions, 
from which she suffered at fixed times, and which, after many 
years of acute suffering, resulted in a serious and alarming ktate of 

" She then consulted several celebrated doctors of the faculties 
of Strasbourg and Paris, and lastly, Dr. Courty of Montpellier. 
The latter, after a careful examination, acquired the certainty of 
an organic lesion of the interior viscerce, which necessitated a pain- 
ful treatment and several operations. This aflfection must evi- 
dently be considered as the beginning of aU the nervous 
phenomena experienced by the patient, including the weakness 
of the lower members, which, for a long time, had rendered it 
impossible for her to walk, and had obliged her to keep her room, 
extended on a sofa or in bed. After having followed, without any 
apparent amelioration, different medical and surgical treatments, 
despairing of being cured, and animated by a lively faith and an 
absolute confidence in the help from On High, she undertook a 
pilgrimage to Lourdes, and there, in the presence of a great 
number of witnesses, she was, on the IBth August, of the year 
of grace 18'74, instantaneously cured. 


" This sudden, unusual, and-unexpected cure is, in my opinion, an 
event positively marvellous, and extraordinary. There is in it a 
Quid divinvm — a supernatural, visible, cmd vncontestihle interven- 
tion, that confounds reason, and vanquishes the obstinacy of incredu- 
lity. For nature does not generally proceed in this manner, but 
always operates by slow degrees. 

" At Lourdes, and contrary to all prevision, that which doctors 
had not been able to accomplish after years of trial, was done in an 

" Given at Baccarat, the 16th December, 1874. 

"A. Mangin." 

(Page 280.) 


The facts contained in the narrative entitled " The Noveno of 
the Cure of Algiers," and of which the rigorous exactitude has 
been affirmed by the letter of M. and Mme. Guerrier, given in 
page 229, are fully borne out : — 

(1.) As to Mme. Guerrier's state of ill-health and as to all that 
passed at Saint-Gobain : — by M. Biver, the father, doctor of medi- 
cine ; — M. Hector Biver, Director-general of the Manufactory of 
Looking-glasses at Saint-Gobain ; — M. Alfred Biver, Director of 
the Manufactory of Looking-glasses at Saint-Gobain ; — M. Louis 
Bonnel, professor at the Lyceum of Versailles ; — the Abbe Poin- 
dron, Cure of Saint-Gobain ; — M. Danre, druggist in the same 
town ; — and M. Viennot, formerly clerk at the War Office ; who 
all at the same time depose that Mme. Guerrier returned from 
Lourdes completely cured. 

(2.) As to the fact of the sudden cure accomplished the leth of 
September at the sanctuary of Lourdes, in the Chapel of Sainte 
Germaine-Cousin, at the last mass of the Noveno of the Abbe 
Martignon, and as to the different details of all that passed at 
Lourdes : — by the K. F. Thuet, missionary of the Holy Spirit, at 


present (1877) at the House at Bordeaux, rue Parmentade, 65, 
wlio served the Abb§ Martignon's mass ; — by M. Lavigne, collector 
of the excise revenue at Lourdes ; by Mme. Detroyat ; by the 
Rev. Edwards, Priory of Saint Augustin, Newton,. Devonshire 
(England) ; and by the Baron and Baroness de Eerussac, rue 
d'Anjou, 3, Versailles, who were at Lourdes at that time. 

(3.) As to Mme. Guerrier's state of ill-health, previous to her 
stay at Saint-Gobain, and as to all that passed at Beaune : — by 
the same members of her family as had seen her at Saint-Gobain ; 
and, besides : by MM. Leboeuf, Oure-archpriest of Notre-Dame 
of Beaune ; — Bouhey, curate ; — Monmont, Procureur of the Re- 
public ; — Noirot, honorary judge ; — A. Larcher, juge d! instruction; 
— L. Lagarde, retired recorder, and assistant Justice of the 
Peace ; — Henri Morelot, etc., who at the same time bear witness 
to her present state of perfect health. 


Although it was extremely painful to the Abbe Martignon to 
give an account of an event in which he had accomplished an 
act of self-sacrifice that he would have wished to keep inviolably 
secret, he still considered it his duty, at Mme. Guerrier's formal 
request, to address to the R. P. SempI, Superior of the Mission- 
aries of Our Lady of Lourdes, a brief notice of what had hap- 
pened. He wrote it with great exactness, but it was clear that 
he took pains to keep in the background whatever could be 
turned to his own praise. As to the striking and characteristic 
details of the chapel where the miracle took place, they can be 
verified by anyone and everyone, for this sacred remembrance 
will doubtless render them henceforth inviolable to change. 

We here give the report that Mme. Guerrier has lent us and 
from which, as the reader will perceive, we have borrowed a good 
many textual details. 

" Lourdes, 19th September, 1877. 

"Reveeend Eather, 

" Mme. Guerrier requests me to help her Id the narra- 
tive you wish her to give you of the principal circumstances of 
her illness and miraculous cure, by acquainting you precisely, in 
what way and to what extent the name and thought of Mgr. 


Peyramale were mixed with that happy event. I consent all the 
more willingly to her request as, in that respect especially, it is 
desirable that the exact value and real character of the fact should 
be maintained. 

" For a long time I had resolved to make a fresh Noveno to 
obtain the recovery of my voice. I had fixed on the Feast of 
Our Lady of Seven Dolours as the term of it ; not being then 
aware that, through its being a movable Feast, the first day of the 
Noveno would coincide this year with the Nativity of the Blessed 
Virgin. When Mgr. Peyramale died, I had the idea, which I 
communicated to several friends, of beginning my Noveno beside 
the sacred remains of that great Servant of Mary, and of asking 
Our Lady of Lourdes to permit that, on the ninth day, he should 
transmit me the answer himself in the name of her who was so 
justly called his heavenly parishioner. 

" The choice made by Almighty God of the 8th of September 
as the day on which He took to Himself the venerable Curi was 
a sufficient authorisation for me to associate his memory with 
my humble supplications. On Friday the 14th, I received, as 
also did you, Reverend Father, a letter from the Abbe Poindron, 
CurS of Saint-Gobain. He urgently recommended to my care 
M. Guerrier, Justice of Peace at Beaune, and his wife, who for 
three long years had been suffering from a serious illness and 
was coming to Lourdes to seek a cure that her boimdless confi- 
dence made her sure of obtaining. 

" On Saturday the 15th, I went to the station to meet them on 
their arrival by the three o'clock train. Madame Guerrier had to 
be carried from the train to the carriage by the railway porters, 
who on that occasion, as always, were most delicately oblig- 
ing and serviceable. The patient, being paralysed in all the 
lower part of her body, could not make the slightest movement. 
In this painful situation it was indispensable to find her a lodging 
on a ground-floor. The excellent M. Lavigne came to our help 
and extricated us from our difficulties by offering us the use of 
his own drawing-room. Thus the two pilgrims, without suspect- 
ing it, received the most cordial hospitality beneath the very roof 
that had sheltered the good Cur§ of Lourdes at the time of the 


" From the first moment I saw clearly, by the calm energy 
with which Mme. Guerrier spoke of her cure, that her confidence 
came from on high. 

" I then told her of the conditions in which 1 had begun my 
Noveno, asking her to join in it, and offering to substitute her 
intentions for mme. After a short rest, we all three made a first 
visit to the Grotto. All those who then saw the invalid carried 
in her chair, remarked the almost ecstatic character of her prayer. 

" On her return to the house she continued praying, mixing 
with her devotions the memory of Mgr. Peyramale ; and she 
continued to do so on the morrow at her waking. I had fixed 
eight o'clock as the hour when I should sa/y the Mass for her, in 
which I expressly reserved the Memento of the dead for him whom 
we mourned. She arrived at the church, carried as usuaL 

" For the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice I had given the pre- 
ference to the chapel of Saint Germaine placed near the entrance 
on the left of the Basilica. This precaution was rendered indis- 
pensable by the crowd of pilgrims who encumbered the crypt and 
the upper church. 

" Mme. Guerrier heard Mass seated on her chair ; in that posi- 
tion she also received Holy Communion. But hardly had the Host 
been placed on her lips when she felt herself, as she told us 
afterwards, urged to kneel down. Yielding to the secret impul- 
sion she rose and knelt down without any difficulty. Her husband 
who had just communicated at her side looked at her with tears 
in his eyes, not daring to speak to her. After Mass her thanks- 
givings lasted some time before those near her felt convinced of 
the certainty of the Miracle. 

" It was, however, necessary to leave the church. In a 
moment of bewilderment easily imderstood, M. Guerrier turned 
to call the porters. " Wait a moment," I said to him, " let her 
walk." And she set off with perfect liberty of movement and 
like a person who had never suffered in her legs. She went 
down to the Grotto by the winding paths, leaning on her husband's 
arm. There she knelt without help, and after praying a few 
moments went and bathed in the Piscina, where she left what 
little stiffness remained ia her joints. She returned to Lourdes, 
walking most of the way that separates the town from the Grotto. 


Her first care was to go and pray at the tomb of Mgr. Peyramale. 
From that moment, Eeverend Father, as all have been able to 
prove, the cure has been absolute, and it only remains to thank 
Our Lady of Lourdes for it. 

" Mme. Guerrier having expressed a wish to have a copy of 
these lines, I have thought it my duty to accede to her desire. 

" Receive, Eeverend Father, the assurance of my most respect- 
fully devoted sentiments in Our Lord. 

" M. Maetignon." 


In consequence of this report, and after the R. F. Sempe had 
made himself acquainted with the facts by interrogating M. and 
Mme. Guerrier, the Eeverend Fathers published the cure in the 
number of the " Annals of Our Lady of Lourdes " of that same 
month (30th September, 1877), and mentioned it in these terms : — 

" Mme. Guerrier of Beaune (Cote-d'Or) had suffered for three 
years from paralysis in the lower part of her body, caused by an 
affection of the spinal marrow. She was carried to the Basilica, 
where she heard Mass seated, and received Holy Communion in 
the same posture. Immediately after communicating she rose 
without help, and taking the arm of her husband, M. Guerrier, 
Justice of the Peace at Beaime, she went down to the Grotto on 

But through a mistake in the printing, the date indicated by 
the Annals was the 18th instead of the 16th. That error, 
rendered serious by the circumstances (since it is the date that so 
powerfully contributes to give its true character to the event), 
was rectified in the next number of a newspaper of Lourdes. 
The real date had been, besides, printed, on the day itself, by 
the same newspaper, and by the Semaine Utwgique de Marseille, 
which, in the account given of the Marseilles pilgrimage, related 
in two words how the wife of M. Guerrier, Justice of the Peace 
at Beaune, had been miraculously cured on the Sunday, 16th 
September, at a mass in the Basilica, and that the pilgrims of 
Marseilles had seen her at the Grotto, walking like everyone 
else, after having seen her the evening before carried in a chair 
and placed before the statue of Mary. 




On hearing of the death of the Abbe Martignon (too late, 
unfortunately, for him to arrive at Poitiers), M. Henri Lasserre 
made it his duty immediately to communicate the event to the 
family in whose favour that admirable priest had, eight months 
previously, accomplished his heroic sacrifice. He received in 
reply from M. Guerrier, a touching letter, of which the following 
are a few extracts : — 

"Dear Sir, 

"I received your telegram yesterday informing 
me of the death of our good and revered friend, the Abbe Mar- 
tignon. I need not tell you that we were moved to the depths of 
our hearts on receiving news for which nothing had prepared us. 
We had heard from our excellent friend on the 14th of this 
month. His letter, written with a firm hand, was like all those 
which had preceded it, and perhaps even in a greater degree full 
of delightful gaiety and warm, sincere affection ; he spoke in it of 
you, and complained that he had not heard from you for some 
time. He was going to write to you. How little we thought that 
his time was so near. 

"We mourn for him as for a benefactor who has left us, but 
at the same time we rejoice in his happiness. . . . Is he not 
gone to the eternal home where God rewards souls like his with 
divine felicity ? Did he not love God above all else, and his 
neighbour more than himself even, in his ardent charity, going 
beyond the Divine precept? Mme. Guerrier and I can bear 
witness to that, and never shall we forget it, as our prayers will 
prove to him. 

" It seems to us, since yesterday, that our sadness is tempered 
by a sentiment of peace and joy similar to what is experienced . 
by the certainty that one has another protector near the throne 
of God and the Immaculate Mother ! He loved the Blessed 
Virgin so much, and she gave such a special proof of her love 
for him on the 16th September, 1877 ! She has opened the gates 
of heaven to him in the month especially devoted to her. 

" There is, however, one thing we regret. Canon Martignon 


is gone without leaving us a remembrance that I asked him for 
in all my letters, and of which he never spoke in reply, evidently 
not intending to comply with my request. 

" We do not possess his portrait. "We could have wished to be 
able to bequeath it to our children, that they might never forget 
the features of him ly whose sacrifice their mother was cured. 
Perhaps you have a photograph of him 1 Or you might know of 
one that we could have reproduced 1 We would give anything 
to have in one way or another a portrait of our dear Canon. 

"Ed. Guerkiek. 
"Bbatjnb, S8th May, 1878." 


Text and translation of the Brief of His Holiness Pope Pius the 
Ninth, relative to the Boole entitled " Our Lady of Lourdes ". 

DiLECTo FiLio Henrico Lasserre. 

" Dilecte fill, Salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem. 

" Gratulamur, .tibi, Dilecte Fili, quod, insigni auctus bene- 
ficio, votum tuiun accuratissimo studio diligentiaque exsolveris, et 
novam clementissimse Dei Matris Apparitionem ita testatam faoere 
curaveris, ut oonflictu ipso humanae malitiae cum coelesti miseri- 
cordia claritas eventus firmior ac luculentior appareret. 

" Omnes certe in proposita a te rerum serie perspicere poterunt: 
Eeligionem nostram sanctissimam vergere in veram popoporum 
utiUtatem ; confluentes ad se omnes supernis juxta et terrenis 
cumulare beneficiis ; aptissimam esse ordini servando, vi etiam 
submota, concitatos in turbis animorum motus, licet justos, 
compescere ; iisque rebus sedulo adlaboiare Olerum, eumque adeo 
abesse si superstitione fovenda ut imo segniorem se prasbeat ao 
severiorem aliis omnibus in judicio edendo de factis, quse natures 
vires excedere videntur. 

"Nee minus aperte patebit, impietatem incassum indixisse 
Religioni helium, et frustra maohinationes hominum divinse 


Providentiae consiliis obstare ; quae imo nequitia eorum et ausu 
sic uti consuevit, ut majorem inde quserat operibus suLs splen- 
dorem et virtutem. 

" Libentissime propterea excepimus volumen tuum cutitulus 
NoTEE Dame db Lourdes; fore fidentes, ut quas per niira 
potentise ac benignitatis suae signa undique frequentissimo 
advenas aocersit, scripto etiam tuo uti velit ad propagandam 
latius fovendamque in se pietatem homiuum ac fiduciam, ut de 
plenitudine gratias ejus omnes aocipere possint. 

"Hujiis, quern ominamur, exitus labori tuo auspicem accipe 
Benedictionem Apostolicam, quam tibi grati animi Nostri et 
paternas benevolentise testem peramenter impertimus. 
. "Datem Komae, apud S. Petrum, die 4 Septembris, 1869, 
Pontiflcatus Nostri anno XXIV. 

"Pius, Papa IX." 

To His well-beloved Son, Henry Lasseebe, 
PiDS IX., Pope. 

" To our well-bdoved Son, greeting and apostolic benediction. 
Receive our congratulations, very dear Son. You, who were" 
formerly favoured by a signal benefit, now scrupulously and 
lovingly accomplish the vow you then made ; you have taken 
the utmost care to prove and establish the recent Apparitions of 
the most clement Mother of God ; and that in such a manner 
that the very struggle of human malice against divine mercy only 
serves to bring into stronger and brighter relief the luminous 
evidence of the fact. 

" In your exposition of the events, and in their connection and 
logical succession, all men may perceive with clearness and 
certainty how our most holy Religion turns to their real advan- 
tage ; how it lavishes on them, not only heavenly and spiritual 
benefits, but also temporal and worldly advantages. They 
will see how Religion, even in the absence of material strength, 
is all-powerful in maintaining order ; how, amidst excited mul- 
titudes, its influence restrains within just limits the outbursts of 
righteous indignation in the public mind. They will see, in 
short, how the clergy co-operate by their zeal and loyal efforts 


in producing such results, and how, so far from favouring super- 
stition, they are more circumspect and severe than the rest of the 
world in giving judgment on facts that apparently surpass the 
limits of natural power. 

" Your narrative will throw an equally brilliant light on the 
evident truth that in vain does impiety make war on Religion, 
and in vain do the wicked strive to trammel, by human machina- 
tions, the divine counsels of Providence. The perversity of men 
and their criminal audacity serve, on the contrary, as means by 
which Providence sheds greater power and splendour on its 

" Such are the reasons for which we receive with unfeigned 
joy your book entitled. Our Lady of Louedes. We believe 
that she, who by the miracles of her power and goodness, draws 
from all parts multitudes of pilgrims to her sanctuary, wOl also 
make use of this book to propagate piety and confidence still 
more widely amongst men, and attract, their hearts towards her, 
so that all may participate in the plenitude of her graces. As a 
pledge of the success we predict for your work, receive Our Apos- 
tolic Benediction which we send you most aflfectionatelj', in tes- 
timony of our gratitude, and our paternal good wishes. 

" Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, the 4th September, 1869, 

of our Pontificate the 24th year. 

"Pius IX., Pope." 


List op the different Languages into which the work, 

OUR LADY OF LOURDBS, and its abridged form 

The month of MARY of OUR LADY OF 

LOURDES, HAS BEEN translated. 


Our Lady of Lourdes, translated from the French of Henry 
Lassbrre, by the Rev. F. Ignatius Sisk. London : Thomas 
Richardson & Son. 


The Month op Mary of Oue Lady of Loukdes, by Heney 
Lassekre, translated from the French by Mrs. Croziee. 
London : Burns & Gates. 


Unseee liebb Feau von Lourdes, herausgegeben von Heineich 
Lasseree, von M. Hoffmann. Freiburg in Breisgau, 
herder' sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. 

Maribn-Monat Unserer lieben Frau von Lourdes, von 
Heineich Lasseree Mit Genehmignng des Verfassers in's 
Deutsche iibersetzt. Luxemburg : Druck und Verlag von 
Jacob Heintze. 


O. L. Veouw van Lourdes, door Hbndeick Lasserre, Gent 
(Gand). Boekdruklcerij van J. en H. Vander Schelden. 


Miz Maei an iteon Vaeia Lourd, skrivet e gallek, Gant an 
aotrou Herry Lasserre, Ha Lakeet e Brezonek dre he aotre 
gant Anna a Jesus, leanez ar speret-santel. Brest : J. B. 
Lefournier. Kemper : E. Ty. lann Salaun. 


NuESTRA SeSoea de Louedes, por Eneique Lasserre Traduc- 

cion de D. Francisco Melgar. Madrid libreria de D. 

Miguel Olamendi. 
NuESTRA Senora DE LouRDES, por Eneique Lasserre. Paris : 

Jouby y Roger, editores. 
Mes de Maria de Neustra Sekoea de Lourdes con oraciones. 

por Enrique Lasseehe. Paris : A. Jouby y Eoger, editores. 

(Low Dutch Language.) 

Maand van Maria onze lievb Veouw van Lourdes, door 
Hendrik Lasserre. Mei vergunning van den Schrijver 
vertaald door Vanwersch, S. J.— Amsterdam, J. Beerendonk. 



Fkanciaoeszag Lourdesi Kegyhelye, irta Lassere Heneik, 
utan. Talaber Janos. Buda— Pesth : Nyomatott a Hunyadi 
Matyas Irodalmi Int^zetben. 

(Slavonic Language.) 

Ldrska Mati Bozja, francoski spisal Henrik Lassere ki je 
zavoljo te knjige dobil pohvalo in blagoelov od svooe ta, 
papeza Pija IX., poslovenil Frenjo Maresie. 


Nostra Signora di Lourdes, per Enrico Lasserre, versione 
italiana per un Padre, D.C.D.G. Modena Typ. dell Imm. 

Mese db Maria di Nostra Signora de Lotjrdes, con preg- 
Mere durante la S. Mess., de Enrico Lasserre, versione 
dal francese. Trento, Libreria di Eugenio Bernardi. 


MiESAc Maryi, Nabozbnstwo do matei boskibj z Lotjrdbs, 
przez Henryka Lassbrre. Warszawa (Warsaw) : Nakladem 
Ksiegarni Gebethnera i Wolflfa. 


NossA Senhora de Lotjrdes, tradugao do francez de Henrique 
Lasserre. Lisba (Lisbon), Typographia universal. 


Two Translations for America and two for Spain have been 
published in France with the authorisation of the Author : — 
NuBSTRA Sbnora DE LouRDES, por Enriqub Lasberre, traduc- 

cion hecha con autorizacion y bajo la direccion del autor. 

Paris,/ouby y Roger, libreros-editores. 
Mes db Maria db Nuestra SbSora db Lourdbs, con oraciones, 

por Enrique Lasserrb. Paris, Jouby y Roger. 


Besides these Translations, the following have' appeared in 
America : — 


NuESTRA Sehoea db Luedes, obra escrita en frances per 
Enrique Lasseere, i traducida por Casanova i Errazuriz. 
Imprenta del correo, Santiago de Chile. 


Ndestra Senoka de Ldrdbs, por Enrique Lasseere, Kio-di- 

Republic of New Grenada. 

Ndestra SeSioea de Lodrdes, por Enrique Lasserrb Bo- 

United States. 

Our Lady of Louedes, by Heney Lasseere, translated from 
the French. New York :' D. & J. Saddler & Co. 

This list, though numerous, is still incomplete. There exist, 
besides those already noted, translations that we have been 
unable to procure. Besides which, the printing characters for 
the translations into oriental languages published at Pondichery 
and Shanghai are wanting. 

Most of these translations, like the original work, have passed 
through several editions. Faith in Our Lady of Lourdes has 
spread through the whole world, and has become one of the 
treasures of the Church. 



The following are the letters which serve as intro- 
duction to " The Joinek of Lavaue," and were acci- 
dentally overlooked in translating the book : — 

"We, the undersigned : Charles Macart, joiner, son of 
Fran9ois Macary ; Marie Bonapous (n^e Macary), his sister ; 
P. BoNAPOTis, priest, professor at the Little Seminary, his 
nephew ; having read the narrative entitled " The Joiner of 
Lavaur," do hereby attest its absolute authenticity. The facts 
are therein related precisely as Frangois Macary used to tell 
them, — as we, the members of his family have witnessed them, 
and as they are publicly known to all the town of Lavaur. , 

C. Macart. 


Lavaur, 7th June, 1882. Marie Bonafous. 

I, the undersigned, Curg-Archpriest at Lavaur, add my testi- 
mony to that of the family Macary, in proof of the authenticity 
of M. Henri Lasserre's narrative. 

EoQUES, Cure-Archpriest of Lavaur. 

Lavaur, 16th June, 1884. 

Lagrave, 25th January, 1883. 
To Monsieur Lassbrre. 
Honoured Sir, 

As you desire to have the witness of my testimony, 
I send it you most willingly tmd with all my heart. Your 
narrative is the truthful account of an event which will ever 
remain one of the most cherished remembrances of my life as 
a priest. You have made a really living portrait of Fran5ois 
Macary. In reading the history I exclaimed, " It is himself ! his 
ardent, figurative language ; his intelligent and energetic charac- 
ter". ... I feel convinced that the pages you have devoted 
to him will do good to those who may be fortunate enough to 
read them, and that the Holy and Immaculate Virgin will re- 
ward your eflforts. 

Receive, Monsieur, the homage of my profound respect, 

J. Coux, 
Cur^ of Lagrave (diocese of AIM). 


^uUisiim to ffionttartora to 











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